Transdisciplinary weaver John Paul Morabito engages queerness, ethnicity, and the sacred through the medium of tapestry reimagined in the digital age. Their work outputs woven forms, moving images, and relational actions that look toward a future-past horizon where one can exalt queer grace.
“I am defiantly a weaver. Through this position, I reconsider tapestry as a modality in which image, matter, technology, and embodiment provide productive conflicts for constructing form. Drag, in all its bombastic and glittering glory, is a guiding sensibility which I engage as a queer methodology to decadently retrace (and undo) faith, history, and legacy. Here, I employ digital interfaces in concert with improvisational handwork to mutate relics, devotional images, and ritual matter into opulent woven memorials that twist time. This temporal folding is further explored by drawing live weaving into videos and performances that engage time-based media through the linear logic of weaving. The resulting objects, videos, and performances are unbound from chrononormativity to rest, uncomfortably, within queer temporality. Released from the tyranny of the present, my work looks toward a future-past horizon where one can exalt queer grace”.
– John Paul Morabito
In tandem with their studio, John Paul Morabito pursues a practice-led scholarship that positions weaving as a critical platform of cultural production. Their writing has been published in Art China, The Textile Reader 2 (China Academy of Art), The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, Textile: Cloth and Culture, and Bloomsbury’s forthcoming Encyclopedia of World Textiles. They are the editor of Weaving Beyond the Binary, a special issue of the international peer reviewed journal, Textile: Cloth and Culture.
In 2022 Morabito was appointed Assistant Professor and Head of Textiles at Kent State University. Prior to Kent State they wer Assistant Professor of Fiber and Material Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Morabito serves as Director-at-Large for the American Tapestry Alliance and Poly-Chair for the Queer and Trans Caucus for Art. They hold a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2013 – 22 Their work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions with upcoming exhibitions at the Art in Embassies Program, Washington DC; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), The Threads We Follow, curated by Maya Brooks and PATRICIA SWEETOW GALLERY, A Chorus of Twisted Threads, Los Angeles.