Mark Newport

Using embroidery and knitting, Mark Newport wields his needles to address the stereotyped facade of the he-man, the tough guy, and the superhero. In a series of framed samplers, the artist underscores key elements from the covers of comic books, using the satin, the stem, and the ubiquitous backstitch to embroider over them. But it's Newport's hand-knit superhero costumes that tie the show together. Well-known classics such as Spider-Man (shown here), Batman, and the Fantastic Four hang alongside lesser-known models such as the Escapist (from Michael Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and the hooded Patriot, a red-white-and-blue invention of the artist. Unlike their comic-book incarnations, in which the superheroes' attire seems permanently affixed to muscles that ripple under lean flesh, Newport's lifeless hand-knit suits line the walls of the gallery and float from the ceiling on invisible threads that allow them to limply sway in the breeze. By exhibiting the wolf's clothing without the sheep, Newport exposes the superhero as fraud and demonstrates that growing into manhood may not require leaping over tall buildings but rather passing through the eye of a needle. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 206-624-0770. 10:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., through August 28.

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