Home Arts Pop Art Pioneer Jann Haworth Discovers a ‘Soft and Warm’ Sensibility in Response to the Changes Brought by the Global Pandemic

Pop Art Pioneer Jann Haworth Discovers a ‘Soft and Warm’ Sensibility in Response to the Changes Brought by the Global Pandemic

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Sixty years after her first London exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Pop Art pioneer Jann Haworth embraces a “soft and warm” fabric-centric sensibility in new works exhibited in out of rectangle (until 13 May), at Gazelli Art House, Dover Street. In 1963, Haworth was one of Four young artists showing at the ICA’s former home in Dover Street Market, just 30 yards down the street from its last show.

After the Covid-19 pandemic and the upheaval it brought to his daily life in Sundance, Utah, Haworth felt the need for “soft” and “warm” materials, and to escape the stiffness of the stretched canvas. She comes out “of the rectangle” in her show in London with six new painted fabric hangings, deliberately scaled to appear large or slightly oversized to the approaching viewer, in which the American-born artist addresses his concern with the myth of the Old West and the American cowboy, and revisits the feminine corset, examining this garment’s transformative power to constrain, expand and lie flat.

“It surprised me,” Haworth said The arts journal of its new pieces in soft fabric. “Something acted differently,” she says, during the pandemic. She had previously been used to intellectually crafting her artistic ideas in a Sundance cafe, where she could sit, write and sketch for four hours straight, with the “sound of coffee” all around her.

“Mountains and desert support this rainbow of colors”: Jann Haworth, Detail of Color film cape2023, oil on canvas, with stenciled scenes from classic Wild West movies © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel

“These works, she says, come from another place”. An emotional. “I’m used to doing things intellectually,” she says, and she pokes fun at the imagined image of Harold Cohen, her famous and demanding tutor at London’s Slade School of Art, who became a pioneer of computer art in California—wiggling her finger at her for not having a clear reason for every mark she makes in her latest work.

Untitled (Corset) (2022), strikingly placed at the rear of the ground floor space, East composed of sewn lengths of painted linen and cotton, suspended on interlocking crosses, smeared with the bright, natural colors of the desert country around Sundance. In painted fabric lengths, Haworth said The arts journal, she sometimes captures a moment of pure abstraction. Strips of fabric are cut and sewn from larger pieces, where she lets “splatters occur in a loose, gestural way”, in the style of Japanese calligraphy, before selecting a “very precious” piece of fabric and to bring him “in a straitjacket”. by cutting and stitching. “I like the contrast,” she says, “between this very loose event, and then the very strict precision to the sixteenth of an inch [of cutting and stitching]”.

Jan Haworth, Blu pandemice, 2022, featured in out of rectangle © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel

Another corset-themed piecepandemic blue (2022), has deeply layered and interwoven lengths of painted fabric with a circular blond wood frame. It features the same palette, one that is rooted in the warm colors of the Utah desert, contrasting with the vivid blue of a sky that was, Haworth recalls, a revelation when unpolluted by traffic. and aircraft fumes at the height of the pandemic.

“Mountains and desert support this rainbow of colors,” says Haworth. “There’s some kind of biological substance, the varnish of the desert…that stains the rock in Vandyke browns and blacks. All the [desert and mountain] the colors are warm. It’s not lemon yellow, it’s an “ocher” yellow. These are not cold reds. These are warm, warm cinnabar reds. Everything is mixed up. She creates these warm colors with old master oils, some of them extracted from the earth and part of nature’s palette.

Haworth’s Old lady (1962-63), presented at out of rectangleand in an installation with Franc (1963), at the Four young artists exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, in 1963 © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel; 1963 installation courtesy of the artist

out of rectangle includes one of the sewn soft cotton sculptures from Haworth’s 1963 ICA exhibition—Old lady (1962-63) – a work that also appears on the Beatles album cover Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). In the famous cover photo co-created by Haworth, her then-husband and fellow pop artist Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper, the figure of Old lady is posed in front right with one of child actress Shirley Temple’s Haworth dolls, sporting a striped swimsuit, resting on her lap.

By the mid-1960s, Haworth and Blake were working regularly with Madame Tussaud’s wax works in London, designing posters and creating installations for its charismatic general manager Peter Gatacre. Gatacre employed a galaxy of young talent, including set designer Timothy O’Brien, who created a montage of Admiral Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar. For a 1967 show at Tussaud’s, Heroes Live!, Blake created an arbor of roses and provided a mini dress for a wax job for movie star Brigitte Bardot, then at the height of her fame. For Bardot’s arbor, Blake drew inspiration, Haworth recalls, from the lovely illustrations by Keith Henderson and Norman Wilkinson for a 1911 edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s translation ofThe Romaunt of the Rose.

Jann Haworth with Lady (1963), to out of rectangle in 2023 and in 1963, with Franc (1963) Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel; 1963 installation courtesy of Jann Haworth

Meanwhile, Haworth was making a 48-foot giant, based on film actor Charles Bronson, to stand in the shaft of the main three-story staircase at Madame Tussaud’s, its arms resting on the upper railing. For this huge puffy figure, she cast a six-foot-tall head in latex, made rainbow corduroy pants, used a stair rug for the belt, and a picture frame for the Buckle.

When they created the Sergeant Pepper scripted at Cooper’s studio in Chelsea, west London, Blake and Haworth used wax works borrowed from Madame Tussaud for the leading figures – the four Beatles (to stand next to the Fab Four in flesh and bones), boxer Sonny Liston, actress Diana Dors—as well as Haworth’s softly sculpted figurines, including three Shirley Temple dolls in all.

Jan Haworth, black and white film cape (2023), left, and Color film cape (2023), at Gazelli Art House © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel

out of rectangleThe headlines of are two large oversized fabric and canvas capes—Color film cape (2023), painted in oil, and black and white film cape (2023), painted in acrylic. They look like kimonos but are actually based on Haworth’s early tapered robes, designed both to hang and lay flat.

Haworth grew up in the heart of Hollywood and his father Ted Haworth won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Sayonara (1957) and was nominated for his work on Martin (1955), Some like it hot (1959) and other films. On the front of each of the cloth and canvas capes, and along his arms, are totem sequences of film stills, chosen with stencils, featuring recognizable scenes from Hollywood’s Golden Age. The stills focus on the classic cinematic westerns that helped establish the Eurocentric mythos of the Wild West and the unsettling “manifest destiny” of its white pioneers, as well as the high-risk lives of cowboys, highwaymen and Native Americans who were pushed off their land as the United States pushed west.

Jann Haworth, detail of black and white film cape (2023), acrylic on fabric, with stenciled scenes from classic Hollywood films © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel

In the upper gallery of Gazelli Art House there is a series of Haworth’s 2017 March pastel works on cardboard, accompanied by a set of prints by Work in progress, a monumental collaborative project that Haworth and her daughter Liberty Blake have been working on since 2016. For the project, images of women who have contributed to science and the arts were created by more than 250 other women, many of them amateur artists. . A stencil technique is used to provide a common style. Haworth sees Work in progress as a calculation of the lack of women in the Sergeant Pepper coverage and under-representation of women in general.

Jann Haworth, a set of seven etchings by Mural project in progress2016. © Jann Haworth. Courtesy of Gazelli Art House. Photo by Deniz Guzel

An exit from Work in progressa vinyl version of a collage made by Liberty Blake in Utah, was featured in Haworth Retrospective 2019 at Pallant House, Chichester. Another collage from the project, featuring 130 British women who have contributed to science and the arts – from Queen Elizabeth I to sculptor Barbara Hepworth and architect Zaha Hadid – is made up of stenciled portraits created by British artists in Utah and Great Britain. It was assembled by Liberty Blake and acquired earlier this year by the National Portrait Gallery, London.

For Haworth, a champion of women and female artists for six decades, it was remarkable that the gallery accepted such a blind project, created largely by amateur hands and which enormously increases the representation of women in art. gallery collection. “I can’t get used to the reality of the idea,” she says.

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