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An Immersive Art Experience For You
Immersive Studio Visit (VR)
Immersive Studio Visit - Jungran Noh
Amy Gahyun Lee | February 20, 2019
It was at her exhibition at Gallery Seohwa when our team in Seoul first met with the artist Jungran Noh. Two stories of the gallery space are adorned by the artist’s color field paintings, which were created over a span of a decade, precisely between 2006 and 2018 (a period significant for the artist’s oeuvre, as it was during the time she was developing her representative Colors Play Sweeping series). Featured by an elaborate combination of colors, which the artist accumulated on canvas in stages with obstinacy very distinctively by using a broom, her paintings are seemingly abstract and plain, delivering the artist’s firm, plentiful ideas of color, space, and the universe. They very much reflect the duration of time that the artist devoted to the paintings, as well as represent her passion for genuine beauty that she has been exploring throughout the entirety of her career.
After the short but impressive encounter the other day, we visited the artist’s studio located near Bukhan Mountain, where she has been creating her art for 20 years since returning from the United States.
Eazel: Your studio seems not just an artist studio, but more like an archive that stores everything that may reflect your career as an artist. Please introduce to us to this space and your life.
Jungran Noh (Noh): I have been using this space for twenty years. I find inspiration in deep forests and the rocky mountain, and that is why I chose this space located on the slopes of Bukhan Mountain to be my workspace. The bright sun is another gear that drives me to paint, so on weekdays I usually stay here for five to six hours in the daytime. I mainly paint here, but I also enjoy listening to classical music and reading books in the studio. Spending time here with my friends is another pleasure, so I often invite other artists and critics to show them my recent works and listen to their input. Gathering together with them never fails to stimulate and inspire me.
Eazel: It is definitely unique that you use a broom to paint and accumulate colors on canvas. What inspired you to use a broom? Furthermore, can you share with us the processes that are involved in you creating your work?
Noh: As you can see, the Bukhan Mountain area, where we are now, is characterized by sloping alleys. If there’s a lot of snow in the winter we cannot go out unless we sweep away the accumulated snow. On one snowy day about 20 years ago, while sweeping snow, I incidentally discovered the sophistication of the layers of color and the rich screen created by the traces left behind by the broom when it swept over the snow. After the discovery, I stopped swiping at the snow, came back to the studio and swiped colors over the canvas using a broomstick.
Sometimes I mix two to five different colors in an acrylic color jar, pour them onto a canvas and sweep them with a broom. Sometimes I just pour various colors directly onto the canvas itself and mix them there with a knife, then sweep repeatedly with a wide broom to liven up the color’s texture. I accumulate various layers of colors on the canvas and explore the colors, or more precisely, cultivate the colors.
Eazel: I am impressed by what you just said—that you cultivate colors. What does color mean to you and how do you generally engage with it?
Noh: My colors are coming from those found in the traditional costumes of certain Asian countries, such as my motherland (Korea), China and India, as well as from “Dancheong” (traditional multicolored paintwork on wooden buildings) of Eastern architectures. The colors of Buddhist art and Korean traditional folk paintings affect and inspire me, as well. Recently, I have developed an interest specifically for Ultramarine Blue, which gives us such a sense of meditation and I believe that I can simplify the screen and seek the depth of color by engaging with this color. I always find the harmony, particularly the harmony between Ying and Yang from a mixture of colors playing over the canvas and see them make up their own order, even though it looks very chaotic.
Jungran Noh attended Ewah Women’s University in Seoul and received her MFA and BFA in painting. She later received another MFA in Fine Arts from California State University in Long Beach, United States, and resided in the States for 19 years. After returning to Seoul, Noh began the series Colors Play Sweeping, which is currently in the process of being developed.
Noh accumulates layers of color, and ultimately time, on the canvas to create a sense of space that invites not only the artist herself, but also the viewers, to meditate. The strokes that remain on the canvas from sweeping a broomstick across is undeniably unique and greatly differs from that of general brush strokes. The results may appear coarse and clunky, but are without question, independent in nature. That is why, in Noh’s paintings, the colors look more active and unconstrained. Her paintings evoke different emotions depending on the viewing distance. As she wishes, she can brings us a sense of meditation especially when appreciated from a slight distance, but when up close, we can observe how each color accumulated on the canvas is independently alive and when placed together establishes a strong feeling of energy.
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Jungran Noh’s previous exhibition at Gallery Seohwa where you can see her series Colors Play Sweeping is still on view: www.eazel.net/exhibitions/168
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