Visual Arts

A Perfect Storm: The Utah Arts Festival, Jann Haworth, Sri Whipple & UCACA at SL’s Library Square

If you’re already planning on attending the Utah Arts Festival at Library Square later this month, you’re in for a treat. And if you’re still debating, you may want to make up your mind to go – and when you do, consider being there Thursday night.

Pop Plastiques at the City Library
In addition to the Utah Arts Festival, the Salt Lake City Library is featuring a new exhibit by Jann Haworth. One of the few female veterans of the pop movement in Britain, Haworth is most famous for her involvement in the making of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club band album cover. Her fame was overshadowed by that of her artist partner and husband of the time. Haworth eventually came to Sundance, Utah where she founded the Art Shack Studios and Glass Recycling Works, and co-founded the Sundance Mountain Charter School (now the Soldier Hollow Charter School). If none of this rings a bell, you may be more familiar with “SLC Pepper,” a 50 x 30 foot mural on the parking structure next to the Ford Building in Salt Lake City. Haworth co-created this neighborhood treasure with 30 other artists in 2004 (see Julie Checkoway’s article in the Trib).

Pop Plastiques, a 20-piece exhibit, opens Friday June 6th in the fourth floor Main Gallery at the library. Haworth “cuts and sews painted canvas and vinyl plastic to create abstracted images of corsets, mannequins, and ‘portraits.’ She explores the form and subjects of pop culture using the comis ‘frame’ convention of the graphic novel and film strip.” Look to the end of this article for an interview with Haworth.

An artist reception for the exhibit will be held on Thursday, June 26 to coincide with the opening of the Utah Arts Festival.

“Clash of the Titans” Unveiled
That same night, on the bottom floor, the Library will unveil the newest piece in their collection. The Utah Committee for the Advocacy of Contemporary Art (UCACA) recently donated “Clash of the Titans” a large pencil drawing by Sri Whipple, to the library.

UCACA is a grassroots organization that pools resources to purchase works by contemporary artists and then donates the pieces to local non-profits. The organization came together after a series of conversations by local artists in 2006. UCACA seeks to contribute an artist’s perspective to the process of deciding what artwork is displayed in public venues. Every member donates the same amount. Then, with these resources they began considering work by contemporary artists. All members were allowed the opportunity to submit a piece for proposal. Trent Alvey brought in Sri Whipple’s “Clash of the Titans.” “Sri is a very dedicated young artist, who challenges himself to keep his work spontaneous and original,” Alvey says. “Talent flows out of his fingertips, especially in his drawings.” Though his work is highly professional and challenging, Alvey says, it is unnoticed in the larger art community and so fit UCACA’s mission. In the fall of 2007, the Committee voted unanimously to purchase the piece.

Whipple was born in 1973 in Los Angeles and raised in the Salt Lake Valley since the age of three. Whipple’s obsession with masters such as Carravaggio, Bosch, Vermeer and Van Dyke has always been balanced with a love of pop culture, comic books and animation. After graduating from the University of Utah in 2000 with a BFA in fine art, with an emphasis in painting and drawing, he worked to marry the two traditions. Whipple says, “In my art I unite the masters’ craft and symbolic narratives with cartoon surrealism and subconscious mysticism to create esoteric metaphors for the modern Man.”

Once the piece was chosen, a location needed to be selected. Ultimately, the Committee chose the Salt Lake City Main Library. Jim Frazer, a local artist and the group’s current president, was instrumental in placing “Clash of the Titans”: “UCACA is very excited about Sri’s drawing being placed in a prominent place in the main library, right next to the audio-visual checkout station. We hope library patrons, especially those who don’t usually get to gallery exhibits, will enjoy seeing the artwork and perhaps be motivated to want to see more.”

Britton Lund, Assistant Director of the Library is also pleased with the newest addition to their collection. “People from all walks of life come to the Main Library and we’re delighted to have this piece because it gives us another opportunity to serve as the city’s living room.”

The reception for Pop Plastiques and the unveiling of “Clash of the Titans” will take place Thursday, June 26 from 6-8 PM at the Main Library, 210 East 400 South. UCACA is open to all individuals interested in promoting Contemporary Art in Utah. Annual dues (which are used for the purchase of artwork) are currently $50. If you are interested in joining contact Jim Frazer at ucacainfo@gmail.com.

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