This work was created for Kour Pour: Familiar Spirits, the artist’s debut solo exhibition with Kavi Gupta. For the show, Pour created a stunning new body of work conceived around the idea of family—not only that into which we are born but the families we construct as our personal histories unfold.
To make the works in Familiar Spirits, Pour innovated a new block printing process in his studio. “I was looking for a material that would allow me to make something like a wood block print, but much larger. My uncle is in the construction industry. After talking with him, I decided to use repurposed sheets of vinyl flooring.” Pour carved his foundational images into the vinyl and transferred them to paper or canvas. Additional elements were then collaged or painted on.
This work is part of a series of 12 colorful tiger paintings that were presented side by side and wrapped around a corner of two walls in the exhibition. The series could be seen as a single work—a family of paintings. Each piece is also an individual, with each tiger expressing a unique emotional state. The colorful, seemingly abstract shapes in the images were extracted from the underlying, block printed images of the tigers and painted in a primary color palette suggestive of the Bauhaus, or early Modernist artists such as Joan Miró or Alexander Calder.
Similar to his renowned Carpet paintings, which integrate visual elements from pre-Victorian Persian carpets, these paintings contain elements that reference both global art history and various interconnected cultural iconographies. The central motif in this new body of work is a tiger, an image immediately suggestive of a range of art historic and craft traditions, but which is also a personal reference for Pour.
Some artists use words like appropriation or re-mix to describe the process of activating existing visual associations from art history and contemporary culture in their work. Pour prefers to use the word foster.
“Foster means taking care of something that isn’t necessarily yours. It means nurturing something temporarily in your care.”
“These tiger paintings originate from one of my best friends Phil, who is Korean and grew up in Chile,” Pour says. “He became a tattoo artist. He has a big Korean tiger tattoo on his belly.”