Noela Hills, Midnight Blue
Born in Brisbane in 1954, Noela Hills was a painter, illustrator and printmaker. She exhibited her work in London and Australia at various galleries including Victor Mace Gallery in Brisbane, Robin Gibson Gallery in Sydney and Solander Gallery in Canberra. Hills received the inaugural Caltex City of Brisbane art prize for her work entitled 'Suburban Saint after Titian'. Her commissions included an illustration for a ‘London Times’ article on the Australian trumpeter Barry Tuckwell. In the 1970's, at the Central School of Art in London, Hills befriended English potter Allison Britton. Her career was cut short with her early death in 1987 and her obituary was published in the ‘Courier Mail’
The Work of Art
Midnight Blue is the only work of art in the University of Canberra's Art Collection that represents Noela Hills. It is a small work that depicts a woman dressed in a patterned blue dress beside a nightclub bar sign. The work falls within her known reportoire of illustrations. From early on, Hills was an observer and portrayer of people, usually imaginary and possessing both identifiable and exaggerated characteristics. They were placed in a setting suggesting a narrative, which was reflected in the title. "Her portraits, loosely described as 'Period', sometimes have literary references and always timeless humour. Here is an art that captures the movement of hands and veers as easily from a jazz age lady from the twenties (Smoke) to characters straight out of Oscar Wilde. Her works are known to amuse and delight as well as getting the viewer to think and question.