Recent Paintings of Colorist Jungran Noh
The paintings of Jungran Noh, currently being shown at Galerie Bahk, are consistent with the same unique theme of "Golden Section" and "Colors Play" she displayed at the same gallery space three years ago. In fact, "Golden Section" is not quite an actual theme, but rather a tool for the order of composition and geometric construction that reveals the individual painting surface of "Colors Play". Within the molds of these compositions, Noh plays with the colors in a unique sense. The passionate and strong hues of the surface build up with many layers of mainly primary colors flowing into one direction and mingling with other colors. They soak into neighboring colors while remaining as various textures and expressive surfaces. Although her newer works display the splendid, yet often intuitive and meditative hues, these paintings also reveal a more cheerful and objective sentiment. Perhaps now, she has room to start observing her paintings with an objective distance rather than solely through her own inner eye, thereby being able to convey a style that has evolved from Expressionism to Classicism. All this can be seen from her efforts showing a simplified form in straight and curved lines, unclear borders in a split colored section, and an emotional sense of color that she filters through a bowl of "Golden Section".
The first time I saw Noh's paintings was nearly eighteen years ago at Duson Gallery, where paintings that had been done at her studio in the US were being displayed. The series was titled "Mindscape". The works were cheerful and full of vitality like her character. They resounded with her dynamic brushstroke and were stained with brilliant talent, which revealed a fantastic and mystical space. However from the paintings at Gallery Seomi in 1994, I noticed a serious change in her mind landscape. The colors changed into deep, dark, melancholy and meditative shades, while the forms, such as nails, peach and the symbol of eternity, appeared with pensive colors that seemed to speak for the wounds in her heart. Her efforts to deviate from portraying her autobiographical inner-scape seemed to take place starting four or five years ago. "I try to contemplate the whole creation, focusing my eyes towards a far distance in search of a spiritual space where I can breathe fresh air and purify my mind away from a chaotic state." As Noh wrote, she empties herself and sets herself free from any restraints. Through this, she tries to reach for the truth of beauty for which she has been constantly longing. For her, the colors are the reality of liberated desires like food and sex, so to speak. In other words, they are like the original shape of a pure basic instinct. The paintings are the realization of the colors and "Colors Play" is the process and experience. From the viewpoint of art history, Noh's recent works are a statement of the modernist's from of pure "Painterism" that gets rid of literal explanations of art. However, from her personal history of painting, one can see the transformation of her sensitivity from chaos to order, from individualism to universalism, and from expression to controlled sensibility.
The visual art world these days is dominated by trends of installations, videos and multimedia displays, but I give respect to Noh for staying consistent in her style as a modernist painter. At the same time, I will watch her works with the prediction that her subsequent works will continue to be more simplified and focused as the art world is experiencing a resurgence of paintings
Misook Song /art historian,critic,2003