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Helen Norton’s extraordinary life is central to understanding and appreciating her artistic output. Born Helen Joy Rodwell in Melbourne’s St Kilda in 1961 she left home at sixteen and moved around the country working in a variety of unusual and demanding jobs – cook in a roadhouse, rabbit shooter, fox hunter, jillaroo, station cook, shark hunter.
Not surprisingly when she came to painting she called on these life experiences and the people and the landscape of the Australian outback as powerful motifs.
After roaming through some of the most desolate areas of Australia for many years Helen Norton settled in Broome in 1985. There she began to paint for the first time since leaving school. Her first solo exhibition was staged at the Broome Regional Art Gallery in 1988.
Since then she has come a long way to becoming an artist in her own right. She describes herself as a reporter of the human condition noting that “there is always a hidden agenda in my work”.
Norton does not see herself as a decorative artist.”I paint to examine, to undo questions and I hope that people who view my work learn from it too. Whatever level they’re at, their own life’s experience will tell them how to read my paintings.”
To Norton it doesn’t matter what art is. What is important is that the viewer, the human being, is moved to soulfulness and put in touch with their emotive side; the beauty or pain – whatever it is the work stimulates.
Helen Norton has become one of Australia’s most well received artists and her work is included in many major private and international collections.
2015 Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Mosman, “World Affair”
2015 Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, “War”
2013 Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth, “2013 New Works”
2013 Zig Zag Cultural Centre, Kalamunda, “Ulysses Eye”
2012 Norton Gallery, South Fremantle, “No Ark”
2012 Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth City, “Prosperity”
2011 Libby Edwards Melbourne November
2011 Opera Arte – Solo Exhibition for Opera Under the Stars, Broome WA
2011 Norton Gallery – Opening South Fremantle WA
2010 Monsoon Gallery Broome 5 August,”Creatures”
2010 Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney (mid year)
2010 Linton Kay Gallery, Perth November
2009 Linton Kay Gallery, Perth “Divine Road”
2009 Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney (March)
2008 Linton Kay Gallery, Perth “Now and Then”
2008 Monsoon Gallery, Broome
2007 Fremantle Yacht Club – continuation of “South”
2007 Yallingup Galleries WA – “South”
2006 Cockatoo Gallery Broome, “Obon – The Soul of Broome”, Sept, 30 new works.
2005 Cockatoo Gallery Studio, Fremantle, Extension of “Courage to Love” Sept, 34 new works added
2005 Michael Commerford Gallery, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. “Courage to Love” March
2004 Opening of Cockatoo Gallery Fremantle (Artists own gallery)
2003 Michael Commerford Gallery, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. “The Red Seahorse”
2003 Greenhill Galleries, Perth, WA.
2002 56 Major works in ‘The Angels Heart and the Snake’, Barry Stern Gallery, Paddington, NSW.
2001 70 Major works in ‘Looking for Gods’ with Telethon in Perth, Highett Regency.
2001 Preview of ‘Looking for Gods’, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
2000 ‘Bye Bye Sunfly and the Auditor in Loophole Land’, Sydney, The Rocks.
1999 ‘The Second Test’, The Windsor Hotel, Melbourne.
1998 Margaret River Gallery, Margaret River, WA.
1998 Greenhill Gallery, Adelaide.
1998 The Windsor Hotel, Melbourne.
1998 New Collectables Gallery, East Fremantle.
1998 Monsoon Gallery, Broome, Western Australia.
1998 Margaret River Gallery, WA.
1998 LLewellyn Alexander Gallery, Waterloo, London, UK.
1997 Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
1997 Pastoralists and Graziers Association Conference, Cable Beach Club, Broome.
1997 On board QE2, guest artist sailing with cruise related works from Sydney to Darwin.
1996 ‘Mad Cows’, Framed Gallery, Darwin.
1995 New Collectables, East Fremantle, WA.
1995 Arthouse, Paddington, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, NSW.
1995 Recent works, Durack Gallery, Broome WA.
1994 Arthouse, Paddington, Sydney.
1994 ‘Wings and Wire’ Royal Flying Doctors, Cable Beach Club, Broome, WA.
1993 ‘Heroes’ New Collectables Gallery, Fremantle, WA.
1993 Reflections of the Kimberley, Derby (Changing faces of the Kimberley) WA.
1992 Kimberley Fine Diamonds, WA.
1992 ‘Beasts and Beauties’, Framed Art Gallery, Darwin, NT.
1992 Kimberley Kreations Gallery, Broome, WA.
1991 Kimberley Kreations Gallery, Broome, WA.
1991 Royal Fly Doc, Perth Mint 60 works (Pidgeon series), WA.
1990 Kimberley Kreations Gallery, Broome, WA.
1988 Broome Regional Art Gallery, WA.
SELECTED GROUP AND JOINT EXHIBITIONS
2000 The Art of Saving Lives (Youth Suicide), Sothebys, Armadale, VIC.
1999 Guide Dogs for the Blind, Perth, WA.
1999 Art Extrordinare, Bunbury.
1998 ‘Not the Royal Academy’ Exhibition, Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London, UK.
1997 New Collectables, East Fremantle, WA.
1997 Libby Edwards Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
1997 Cummerford Gallery, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, NSW.
1996 Arthritis Foundation of WA, Wyllie Arthritis Centre, Shenton Park, WA.
1996 The Rotary Arts Foundation Exhibition, Civic Centre, Port Hedland, WA.
1996 Mandorla Art Awards, The Moores Building, Fremantle, WA.
1996 Brunswick Agricultural Society Inc, Brunswick, WA.
1996 Hale Art Exhibition, Hale School, Wembley Downs, WA.
1996 The Michael Commerford Gallery, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, NSW.
1996 New Collectables Gallery, East Fremantle, WA (FAB, Group Exhibition, Breast Cancer).
1996 New Collectables Gallery, East Fremantle, WA.
1996 Durack Gallery, Broome, WA (Fringe Arts Festival).
1995 ‘Putting Ourselves in the Picture’, Durack Gallery, Broome, WA.
1995 ‘Ebb and Flow of the Kimberley’, Monsoon Gallery, Broome, WA.
1994 ‘Women of The West Exhibition’, Sydney, NSW.
1994 ‘Women’s Suffrage Centenary Exhibition’, Adelaide Central Gallery.
1994 Vail, Colorado, USA.
1994 Opened artist’s studio/ gallery in Mc Daniel rd Broome, WA.
1994 Port Hedland Tourist Commission, (Heritage Week Exhibition), WA.
1994 ‘New Etchings and Collographs’, Arthouse, Paddington, Sydney, NSW.
1994 ‘New Etchings and Collographs’, Monsoon Gallery, Broome, WA.
1994 Arthritis Foundation of WA, Perth, WA.
1994 ‘New Etchings and Collographs’, New Collectables Gallery, Fremantle, WA.
1994 ‘New Etchings and Collographs’, Kimberley Kreations, WA.
1994 Greythorn Gallery, Toorak, VIC.
1993 Durack Gallery, Broome (Mango Festival), WA.
1993 SECWA Fremantle City Council Art Award, Fremantle, WA.
1993 Kimberley Kreations 5th Birthday Exhibition, Broome, WA.
1993 ‘Postcards from Paradise’, Shekki Shed Gallery, Broome, WA.
1993 ‘L´ Amour Fou’, Shekki Shed Gallery, Broome, WA.
1992 Arthritis Foundation of WA, Perth, WA.
1992 Scotts College, Adelaide Arts Festival, SA.
1991 ‘The Professions’, Bay Gallery, Perth, WA.
1990 Bay Gallery, Perth, WA.
1990 42 Weld St. Gallery, WA.
1989 Broome Regional Art Gallery, WA.
Paspaley Pearling Co Pty Ltd
McDonalds – Indooripilly Qld
Broome Shire Regional Council
West Australian Parliament House
Austrian Consulate General
Property Bank Australia
Hong Kong Bank of Australia
Lands Department Perth