SALT LAKE CITY — She was born in Hollywood, she conversed with The Beatles, she travels the world and she is a pioneer in pop art history.
Jann Haworth, a Utah resident since the late 1990s and artistic director for The Leonardo, will be the focus of a one-woman art show opening Friday, June 19, at Modern West Fine Art, located at 177 E. 200 South.
Haworth, widely known for her cover design for the Beatles' album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and for the “SLC Pepper” mural in downtown Salt Lake City, will have many of her pop art pieces on display.
”The title of the exhibition will be ‘Round Trip,’ which is my way of paying homage to the various places Jann Haworth has been throughout her career, namely Hollywood, London and Utah,” curator Scotti Hill said.
Although she lived in London and Utah for most of her adult life, Haworth grew up in Hollywood, California. Her mother was an artist, and her father was an Academy Award-winning set designer. After attending school and creating art in London, Haworth arrived in Utah because her father owned a home in Sundance. Haworth has lived in Utah since the late 1990s and has exhibited work in several institutions and galleries around the world.
“Round Trip” will include a variety of Haworth’s pieces from each phase of her career. Her most recent piece, a giant Utah-themed charm bracelet completed this month, will also be featured.
“I don’t just approach a subject and do a picture of it; I like to find an intersection between two thoughts,” Haworth said. “If there are two or more ideas intersecting, then all the better. Crisscrossing ideas is usually what happens. I think very carefully before I create things.”
In each period of her life, Haworth grew by challenging the normally accepted techniques. When she was a student in London, she didn’t want to be tied to doing things in oil paint, bronze or other “acceptable” mediums.
“I wanted to do something that was more personal, so I experimented with sewing,” Haworth said. “I learned to sew when I was 8 and never stopped after that. I was in an atmosphere where there was a very traditional and formal attitude toward making art.”
Haworth has focused on sewing and working with cloth for many of her pop art pieces. She said that over time, it became not so much about challenging the form as it was about making something real that was impossible or fantasy.
“I made a lot of masks at that point,” Haworth said. “More recently, I have wanted to challenge the idea of the picture plane being flat. My challenges and objectives change depending on what I get sick of because I don’t like staying still. I like to keep moving forward."
Haworth brought a bit of her past to Utah when she created the “SLC Pepper” mural downtown by The Gateway. The inspiration for the mural was the Grammy Award-winning Beatles album cover she designed with her then-husband, Peter Blake.
“The idea behind the cover was for the Beatles to choose their heroes and we would put them on their album,” Haworth said. “In the end, Peter and myself chose some of the heads that were on there, too.
In 2003, a Rolling Stones article listed the greatest albums of all time with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as No. 1. The article inspired Haworth to make changes to her art.
“I felt like it was time to give the cover an evaluation,” Haworth said. “I did some math. I sat down with the cover and counted the number of women, and then I counted the number of men. I felt a wince of discomfort seeing that there were so few women represented. I looked for equal representation of African-American musicians and couldn’t find any. I wanted to bring in more ethnic diversity. Instead of pointing at celebrities, I wanted to point at people who were catalysts for change in the arts, social change and other fields like science and so forth.”
Haworth’s discovery resulted in the creation of the “SLC Pepper” mural, which was completed over two months in fall 2004.
“I remember standing in the rain, looking at the finished product and thinking how far we’ve come since the ’60s,” Haworth said. “It was a great lift to me to acknowledge that not only had I learned a lot and I had traveled the distance in comprehension and values, it represented what needed to be said about the original cover. As much accolade as the cover has had, it has its faults. And I’m very happy to acknowledge that.”
An opening reception for “Round Trip,” on display through July 16, will be held June 19 at 6 p.m. in conjunction with the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.
Hill said the event, at which Haworth will be present to answer questions, will be a good opportunity for visitors to discuss and learn more about Haworth’s art while enjoying light refreshments.
“We are inviting everyone to come by,” Hill said. “We really hope that people will not only see the show, but that they will also get to know Jann personally. We are so lucky to have such a famous artist and a tremendous person here in the community.”
If you go ...
What: “Round Trip,” art by Jann Haworth
When: June 19-July 16; opening reception June 19, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Modern West Fine Art, 177 E. 200 South