Kour Pour’s newest body of work addresses Japonisme – the fascination by Western artists with Japanese art and aesthetics. For these five paintings, Pour has adapted the traditional technique of Ukiyo-e prints. Originally used to make easily reproducible art for the masses, many elements such as pictorial cropping, clean contours and compositional characteristics have become incorporated into Western art since the Impressionists. The seemingly abstract forms in these new paintings have been taken from images of earthquake and volcano maps produced by the Japanese Geological Survey and share a resemblance with abstract painting embedded in an American or European tradition. The printing blocks used in Pour’s ukiyo-e process are on view alongside their resulting works and display all the markings and stains of everyday work.
Also in this exhibition is a body of work influenced by ornamental Japanese paper making processes. Washi, Origami and Tsugigami involve the careful tearing, folding, collaging and layering of handmade papers to create aesthetically and physically delicate forms. Pour’s paper pieces are made from newspaper pulp and dyed with ink. Shredding and tearing the newspapers apart, Pour then physically throws the pulp against linen panels. The resulting pieces combine those traditional, delicate Japanese styles of paper making with gestural and spontaneous actions ending in a heavy, impasto-like surface.
In both, Pour continues his past explorations of visual aesthetics produced through cultural exchange. As the visual imagery resulting from volcanic and tectonic movements and the exhibition’s title, Onnagata, suggest, the paintings question notions of originality and shifting relationships between appearance and identity.
Pour Pour - Onnagata
Feuer/Mesler, May 11 - June 19