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Mark Newport is the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Newport’s work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His work has been recognized with grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council. Inspired by the the heroes, toys, and action figures of his youth, Newport challenges “The Hero” ideals by hand knitting replica costumes as well as the suits of heroes of his own invention. These costumes combine their heroic, protective, ultramasculine, yet vulnerable personas with the protective gestures of his mother – hand knit sweaters meant to keep a child safe and warm. The costumes are life-size wearable objects that hang limply on hangers, deflating the standard muscular form of the hero and offering the space for someone to imagine themselves wearing the costume, becoming the hero. The doll-like figures that accompany these costumes raise the relationship between childhood play and adulthood, between toy and figurative sculpture, and between how our ideals about the body clash with the real and the possible. His work offers narratives of the popular personal hero through a contemporary textile outlet.

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