Cultivation of Colors Jungran Noh's Recent Paintings
The paintings of Jungran Noh, exhibited at her two solo exhibitions in 2000 and 2003, have shown the "…reflection of explosive energy racing across the earth" (Josine Ianco-Starrel) and were described as "…bold and gestural but at the same time measured and deliberative" (Lita Barrie). The hues of the surface were full of vigorous colors but also revealed a pellucid sense of vitality. It indeed seemed as though the ultimate finishing form of explosive color produced an undulation of a magnificent revelation from nature. The artist named her works from that period "Golden Section" and "Colors' Play".
Her recent paintings appear to be an extension of "Colors' Play" rather than that of "Golden Section", which was partial toward the composition of the colored surface. Living on a steep mountain slope, Noh has to sweep away with a broom the fallen snow covering the sloping road in the winter. She comes across soil and fallen leaves within the many layers of snow that piles up throughout the night. She discovers the fine textures created by the strokes of the broomstick and finds the delicate shapes formed by the fallen leaves and soil mixed with the remaining snow on the ground. She pursues the meaning of her works in such an insignificant natural phenomenon. She questions herself as to what is the meaning of life and of drawing paintings.
"Deep in the winter, I sweep away the snow with a bamboo broom. The layers of soil and fallen leaves make an image of a painting. I see layers of colors playing together as they are swept. The texture of sweeping, the texture of time, and the texture of colors are my paintings." According to her own words, Noh discovers simplicity in daily life through which she finds the meaning of her works by "recognizing herself as a trifle part of the living body of the cosmos."
Her recent paintings are very simple compared with her previous works. Her paintings only display few track of colors that are laid out vertically across the surface. She sometimes finishes with one simple stroke or with several different color tracks juxtaposing or overlapping each other. She pushes and thrusts the broom by drawing line after line and leaves traces of discontinuation at the edge of the surface as if stamping the snow from the broom. The dripping marks around the edge of the surface show a striking contrast to the hues of the surface created by the firm strokes of the broom and evoke our imaginations. The tracks of hues create various textures mingled with the base colors of the surface while producing marks with hues that are distinguished from the base colors of the surface.
The tracks of hues made by the bold strokes of the thick broom, which clearly expresses its existence, look like the brushstrokes of characters made by a calligrapher. The textures created by the layers of strong hues resound in a deep inner echo. Sweeping colors, like sweeping snow, is a metaphorical expression of an idle act. The objective of clearing the snow fades and Noh sweeps colors as if she is carried away by her own repeated motions. Sweeping colors implies that she sinks herself into a fit of oblivion through the repetition of action without any sense of an objective. Without realizing she reaches a stage of becoming a single unit with nature and forgets her existence. While the colors she has shown in her previous paintings gave the feeling of burying herself in the ecstasy of her embodiment, her recent paintings display a basic instinct that secretly reveals the emotion of human beings connected to nature.
She expresses her act of painting as "Play". She plays with colors. To play does not necessarily have the preconditioned objective. Playing itself is the objective. However, the texture of the colors, which is the production of "Play", is a premonition of affluent fruition, like farmers harvesting crop after a summer-long cultivation of farms. The delicate texture taken shape from the idle act has us feel the texture of time, which makes us to look back at ourselves refreshing the meaning of the existence in the many layers of the textures of time.
Kwangsu Oh / former director of National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, art critic,2007