Libby Edwards Galleries & Art Consultancy

Helen Norton

Helen Norton left home at sixteen to spend the next ten years working and living in the most remote desert locations in Australia. Not intending on becoming an artist, her ambitions focused on immersing herself in as much adventure as was possible to extract from life. She met her husband-to-be in the North West, and this led to a reluctant putting down of roots for a while in Broome West Australia. However the frustration of being stuck in Broome led to her picking up the paintbrush to create a continuing invention of adventures on the canvas.

Norton continued her travels throughout the Kimberley, Pilbara, and overseas as well as 'over the seas' - for her QE2 works. She used the experiences to inject her artwork with more complex layers of narrative.  Her work gained acclaim quickly, and led to commissions from Qantas to paint two front covers for their in-flight magazines, an exhibition on the QE2, and exhibitions in London as well as successful exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney. 

Narration is the backbone of Helen Norton’s work. Her art thrives on a theme – whether it is the ancient story of Gilgamesh – a Sumerian king from five thousand years ago, an aboriginal queen of the Australian desert or an imaginative portrayal of living in a city today and all the contemporary issues of modern life; her intent is on capturing, communicating and exploring the narrative through bold, imaginative paintings.

She loves the tools of illusion, of being part of the scene and surrounding the viewer with an imagined reality – a ‘what if’ proposal. She uses the past as a mirror on to the present, not simply as a personal interpretation of the past to invite reflection. Her use of colour, scale and composition emphasise the narrative context and give a sense of the materiality – and poignancy – to the physical world.

Norton uses the genre on a grand scale, presenting the viewer with life as if it is a monumental event, while paying equal attention to identifying the smallest parts of our existence. Her narrative paintings expose our current choices and cultural contributions. Since the earliest paintings and etchings in rock, people have loved to tell stories. Helen Norton is without a doubt a consummate master of contemporary narrative art in Australia.

Helen holds a Masters Degree in Analytical (Depth or Jungian) Psychology and is self taught as a painter. She has been exhibiting for nearly 30, and is represented in collections nationally and internationally, having had over 60 solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas.