Michigan educator and fiber artist Mark Newport explores the social and cultural significance of textiles through his diverse body of work. His Costumes series, which appeared in form & concept’s Refashion group exhibition in summer 2016, comprises hand-knit superhero costumes that investigate cultural conceptions of heroism and protection. In early 2017, Newport unveiled a solo exhibition at the gallery titled Mending. The new body of work consists of torn muslin cloths with meticulously embroidered patches, symbols of the scars that life etches on the body and psyche. “Underneath the pop culture trappings of the earlier work, the body was always part of it,” the textile artist says. “While the Costumes were about power and armor, the new series is more about vulnerability. I’m flipping that coin on its head.”

Newport is the Head of Fiber and an artist-in-residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, and is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. He earned his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1986, and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991. “I love being an artist,” says Newport. “It allows you this ability to explore things in a way that you don’t always get to do. The work slows me down, and gives me a chance to think.”