SeokMee Noh crafts thick, dynamic brushstrokes to resemble the landscapes of the Korean countryside. Her paintings are powerful and emotive; the result of over 20 years of experience working as an artist and illustrator. And with over 20 solo shows under her belt across Seoul, the US and Sweden, this prolific artist is finally gracing It’s Nice That’s with her new series of landscapes titled After the Snow.
Along with her personal work, SeokMee has worked in a variety of fields including magazines, advertising, editorial illustrations for books and essays, not to mention the fact that she’s a writer too. For the past three years, she’s been working on After the Snow, a collection of personal works that will exhibit this June in Seoul as the culmination of the impassioned body of work. The series started as a way to contrast the artist’s previous series Very Green, a number of works depicting summer landscapes exhibited in a show of the same name in 2017. “Since then, I wanted to make winter scenery different from summer scenery. I wanted to paint a picture of a white winter landscape,” she tells It’s Nice That.
The acrylic paintings portray SeokMee’s countryside surroundings, about an hour outside of Seoul. “I live in a rustic setting,” she says, “after it snowed one day, I walked around and wanted to express the beauty and simplicity of snow, so most of my winter landscapes paint the scenery around my village.” She follows the snow-covered paths to document the sheets of white at the foreground of the earthy mountains behind. To accompany the upcoming exhibition of the work, SeokMee has also written a poetic artist note.
In the note, she sets the scene for the beautiful paintings. In one snippet, she describes: “The wind is blowing and the air is cold. Even if you look around everywhere, it is hard to find life with movement. Everyone is hiding somewhere in this cold weather. Suddenly the wind stops and the air becomes moist and after, the dry and cold days are repeated. The sky is blurred and my eyes lose focus. After a while, the snow falls.”
Though SeokMee is influenced by myriad styles including the traditional works of realism and the contemporary works of her friends, she cites that, “most of all, I continue to learn from my old work. I draw pictures of my surroundings. Therefore, it is so important to know myself at that moment in time.” Not only do her paintings capture still moments of the land, but they also an introspection of that moment. Expressive and idiosyncratic, SeokMee brings her unique painterly style to each composition, following the ridges of the mountains with staccato dabs of colour while smoothly painting the snow to resemble the evenness of white fondant icing. Hoping to continue to paint “brilliant moments” and make a book of these illustrations, SeokMee wants to continue to paint things she likes, but form a clearer mode of expression to communicate the extraordinariness of that moment in time.
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