Pouran Jinchi

Born in Mashhad, a sacred shrine city in Iran, Pouran Jinchi became attuned early in life to the ways architecture, objects, decoration, and the written word can be imbued with symbolic power. This awareness is threaded throughout her body of work, which explores the dense intersectionality of literary and pictorial narratives. 

As a student at George Washington University, Pouran earned a degree in civil engineering. Though her studies honed her analytical mind, she ultimately decided to pursue a career in the creative field. Trained as a classical calligrapher in Iran, Pouran went on to study art at UCLA and the Art Students League of New York. Drawing on this varied training, Pouran developed her own artistic approach. Her attention to methodology stems from a background as a mathematician; her formal approach reflects a creative tension between the rigid control of traditional Islamic calligraphy and the fluid spontaneity of Western abstract painting. 

Early in her career, Pouran followed in the footsteps of Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns who created window displays for high-end fashion retailers. She worked in the fashion industry for a decade before becoming a full time artist in the 1990s. That fashion background continues to inflect Pouran’s art practice; the way her art is experienced by the viewer is deeply embedded in her approach from the original conception to her use of colors to the installation design of her exhibitions.

Pouran’s art has been featured internationally in exhibitions in New York, London, Venice, Dusseldorf, Dubai, Jeddah, Shanghai, and Tokyo. These include The Line of March, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2017); The Blind Owl, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); Dawn, Noon and Night, Art Projects International, New York (2012); and Ritual Imprint, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2010). 

Her work has also been included in group exhibitions such as Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition, Katonah Museum of Art, NY, USA (2018); The Great Game, Iranian Pavilion 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); Ravaged Garden, NYU Art Gallery, New York (2015); Deceptively Simple, Art Project International Gallery, New York, USA (2015); Accented, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE (2015); Artist in Exile: Creativity, Activism and the Diasporic Experience, Dr. M. T Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, St John’s University, Queens, NY, USA (2014); Persepolis: Word and Image, The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA (2014); Calligraffiti: 1984/2013, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA (2013); New Blue and White, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2013); Phantoms of Asia, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2012); Light of the Sufi: Mystical Arts of Islam, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2010); Light of the Sufi: Mystical Arts of Islam, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2009), and Translation/Tarjama, Queens Museum of Art, New York (2009). 

Pouran’s work is collected by museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian, Washington, DC; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Cincinnati art Museum; the Jameel Foundation, Dubai; Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi; Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi; Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University; and the Pratt Institute, New York.

Complete Bio (pdf)