Art - The Search

We are all searching… searching for something. Some of us know what we are searching for; some of us are searching for just anything.

This is my third painting after a break of three years.

Over the years my paintings’ perspectives have taken on more and more a telephoto aspect. I find this provides for a much more interesting picture as it has a huge power to draw the viewer right in there. My use of telephoto has now become so extreme that it is possible for people or objects in the middle or background to actually be larger in scale than a person or object much closer to the viewer.

I didn’t start out with the intention to do this. It just happened. People have occasionally pointed out to me that what I was doing was out of proportion and hence, incorrect. I agreed with them but it didn’t stop me. In other words, I was happy to do this.

Upon closer inspection, this technique allows the possibility to hypothetically carve the paintings up into smaller individual works that can stand alone. In Nature, if we like to look, we will see “Patterns within patterns”; my works are “paintings within paintings”.

The initial “Search” theme was where I finished off my art three years ago. At that time I was working in pastels, charcoal and graphite.

I have never entered into a major art prize, indeed I have hardly ever entered any small town country prize. Time limits are time limits.

(The original of “The Search” was painted three years ago and as such, ineligible for entry into any current prizes.) As three years have passed from the previous “Search” works, as much as I would like to move on to new themes, “The Search” story was just too good to not attempt when it was so appropriate for a religious prize, but I have put away the pastels and now “The Search” appears in acrylic paints.

“The Search” depicts a small number of the directions in life we follow in our own searches. I see a dark city scene, the clock just before midnight. People walking the streets, maybe following like sheep. The young and innocent are drawn to the bright lights. As we get slightly older the goal of our search often seems more elusive. Many by this time have found their goal, at least temporarily, and at this time of night are happily tucked up in bed, hence most of the lights are out in those dark buildings. Then there are those who, through unexpected developments, have found themselves back on the street. Emotional conflict may occur. To confuse things even more we see the virgin prostitute. Centred amongst all this there is a church and we see other searching for something religious to believe in.

I love painting telephone lines, hence they are strung all around the place. They symbolise communication – or as you will see in some cases, lack thereof – hence a breakdown in that search.

Perhaps we should last of all allow our gaze to focus on the headstones of the graveyard. So, when it all boils down to it, what was it all about?

Is this end of the search… or the beginning of the next one?

Peter Norvill

The Search 1 2003
Pastel on board
45 x 60.5 cm

The Search 2 2006
Oil and acrylic on canvas
120 x 120 cm

The Search 3 2006
Oil and acrylic on canvas
180 x 128.5 cm

The Search 4 2007
Oil and acrylic on canvas
101.5 x 101.5 cm

The Search 2003
Pastel and varnish on board
122 x 183 cm

The Search 2003
Oil and acrylic on board
88 x 118 cm


The Search 2003
Oil and acrylic on board
90 x 90 cm