In recent work, Rosemary Valadon re-engages the still life tradition and the shadows cast by gender roles and stereotypes that upset the easy search for domestic bliss. Here an amazing table ensemble becomes a theatre set for an unsettling feminine eye, rendered with humour and suspended desire.
Her new exhibition, Shadows of Desire, explores the artist’s studio with a deeply personal approach, bringing into focus meaningful objects that furnish Valadon’s life and work within the remote historic town of Hill End in central NSW. As stated by art critic, Bruce James, “Hill End offers Rosemary the perfect venue for this act of artistic revival”. The artist also draws inspiration from her garden, which is renowned in the community for its fruit trees and rose beds, and from the region’s contrasting seasons and extreme climate.
Although her work is strongly autobiographical, Valadon successfully tackles contemporary issues which underpin her experience and views on feminist identity, encompassing archetypes of women in society, stereotypes, mythology and iconic storytelling. Her symbolism reflects an ongoing preoccupation with classical artistic traditions and the role of nature in art, alongside juxtaposing iconography related to violence, death, sex and religion.
Rosemary Valadon is a multi-award winning Australian artist (the Blake Prize, Portia Geach Memorial Award, Muswellbrook Art Prize). She is a regular finalist in the Archibald, Sulman, Blake, Portia Geach and Mosman art prizes. Her career spans 40 years, and her work has recently been exhibited at Orange Regional Art Gallery (Interiors) and Maitland Regional Art Gallery (Rosemary Valadon: Textures of Desire).