About

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Prices vary from $500 to $2,500

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"Vibrant and jewel-like, Mara’s work in various media is both challenging and approachable. It is layered and complex and evokes feelings of delight and joy. I am lucky to have a piece that brings me continued pleasure."

 - Nancy M.

I once impulsively described myself as an accidental artist; On reflection, I think this must be because the work I like best has come from periods of wandering and play, or from improvising with pieces of earlier work, rearranging things into a more coherent whole. Acrylics, water soluble crayons, pens, papers, glue and scissors are very amenable to this process and can sustain the accidental flow that wakes me up.  My work often begins this way.

 

Often I work from a still life set-up with my favorite domestic objects - dishes, flowers, and small statues.  Or I look at a painting I admire as a way to then improvise on its composition or color. Occasionally I work from photographs, beginning upside down for best effect. 

 

My day job as a psychoanalyst has brought me back into touch with a lost creative drive.  It seems to take me, on its own steam, to places I can later study with a more purposeful eye, as with dreams and session notes. This process began in 2001 with blind contour sketches of nearby objects on a summer vacation.  Later I began to add color or collage.  When I am not clear yet what I want to make next, these blind exercises (looking only at the subject, not at the paper) serve as useful warm-ups. Sometimes I like them enough to frame them as a series.

 

Shortly after beginning to draw, I learned that there were an unusually large number of artists at my workplace, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, and this led me to found Gallery 1581, a place to bring artists and psychoanalysts together.  Much of my early work, including the series "Free Association" can be seen there and at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

 

During the long confinement of the 2020/2021 pandemic and the necessity of working from home (aka living at work) I took up hand stitching as a daily practice. In between telephone sessions and zoom meetings I made many fabric collages,  quilts, coasters, and bookmarks as a way to reset my listening mind, releasing any remaining tensions into the small stitches. This process  echoed the piecing and integration familiar from my collage work.

 

My work has been shown at:

 

Gallery 1581

Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Cambridge Health Associates

Goodenow Library

Cambridge Art Association

Concord Art Association

Newburyport Art Association

Cambridge Open Studios

Starbucks

Real Estate Stagings by Nellie Aikenhead

and private collections