May Showcase: Mark Newman

Mark Newman creates fine jewellery using traditional goldsmithing techniques, 3D printing and laser technologies. His work is highly conceptual and embraces a newly discovered neurological phenomena, aphantasia which he himself is affected by. Aphantasia causes the mind’s eye to be blind, completely unable to visualise; be it loved ones’ faces, abstract thoughts, and ironically design ideas. This revelation transformed Mark’s practice, pushing him to develop design methodologies which embrace non-visual approaches.

Mark examines logic driven patterns, creating practical “algorithms” informed by pre-established design notions like that of visual hierarchy, aesthetics and cognitive functions in theory of design. Visual inspiration comes from utilitarian systems such as civil engineering and brutalism. Mark deconstructs these in order to explore political and sociological ideas. The visual information extracted for these systems and their inherent link to the functioning of society allows him to express his conceptional ideas.

Now based in Glasgow, Mark first studied jewellery and smithing techniques in his native Ireland. He’s subsequently undertaken residencies at Birmingham School of Jewellery and Glasgow School of Art. He says, “The core of my practice embraces societal and political critique. Each piece delves into an issue which people within society are facing. For example, my ‘Hierarchy ring’ references the silhouette of signet rings and is given form through intricate gold patterns derived from computer circuity, to highlight how widening social and economic classes are emerging in modern times.