Night after night, as artist Julia Noyes brushed color on her canvases, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student played her violin nearby.
Noyes’ creative cells responded to the classical strains wafting throughout her gallery, which is studded with original art by local artists. “Since violinist Lyla Yeeun Cho has come into my life, I have been working on paintings inspired by her – paintings of live music,” Noyes said.
That inspiration led to Noyes’ creation of a series of abstract paintings, including the one entitled “Duet,” which recently won the Museum of Nebraska Art’s Purchase Award.
The honor surprised Noyes, who said it is one of the highest compliments an artist can receive. “I was very honored to be chosen. It’s like winning the Olympics.”
Competing against 300 entries, Noyes’ piece was selected by Russ Erpelding, artreach curator at the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA). Noyes’ painting will travel around the state at sites identified by Erpelding with the Association of Nebraska Art Clubs’ (ANAC) 2017 collection of award winners.
The museum is separate from ANAC. While Erpelding selects the Purchase Award winner, ANAC buys it as a permanent piece for its collection, which is housed and maintained by MONA.
Browsing among the entries, Erpelding said he kept gravitating to Noyes’ piece.
“I saw two dogs howling at the moon,” he said. “I actually saw it as a duet.”
To Noyes, who delights in the freedom of others’ interpretations, the painting is about music. The little colorful shapes in gold leaf, blue, orange and coral are abstract musical notes and tempo symbols, she said.
“Not in a literal way, but in an inspired way,” she said.
Erpelding said he also liked that Noyes started with a black background and “pulled the colors out.”
Noyes, who said “I fall in love with color,” refined Erpelding’s assumption, noting the dark background actually comprises a mixture of purple, black, brown and blue.
Noyes, who has traveled overseas extensively and studied painting in both China and Italy, notes “Duet” is “representational of my style – contemporary in mixed media.” Her other paintings in the musical series are showcased in the Noyes Art Gallery, 119 S. Ninth St.
Marguerite Tassi, author and English professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, owns two of Noyes’ abstract art pieces. She recently had an…