In Rosemary Valadon's new body of work, a sequence of still life paintings come alive with vivid brushstrokes and rich hues of colour. These reflective and intuitive compositions transform a table ensemble into a sensual and dynamic language of expression, where each element 'on stage' invokes tension and suspense through its relationship with other pieces in the tableau. At the same time, individual objects have their own theatrical presence and energy, expressing a unique quality and vibrant persona. Shiny surfaces shimmer against deep pigments of colour. A thin stemmed wine glass sits next to a softly rounded pear. Flowers interlace random objects, making delicate links and patterns. In each pictorial experience, the interaction for the viewer is visceral, where one can almost taste the fruit, smell the flowers and stroke the fabrics in each tableau or visual diary.
Although Valadon’s work is strongly autobiographical, a set of broad issues underpin her practice. These works communicate her experience and views on feminist identity, via visual narrative, mythology and iconic storytelling. This captivating exhibition explores contemporary themes in the context of the artist’s studio, bringing into focus meaningful objects that furnish the artist’s life in the remote historic town of Hill End, NSW. Wagner Contemporary is thrilled to present this celebrated and award-winning artist’s evocative and sensual new body of work.
This much-awaited show marks an extraordinary few years for the artist. Following the ABC documentary, A Sensual World, which looked at the artist’s influences over her 35-year career, her work was selected for the acclaimed exhibition, Interiors, at Orange Regional Gallery (2018), then showcased in the exhibition, Textures of Desire, at Maitland Regional Gallery the following year (2019). Rosemary Valadon is the recipient of major awards, such as the Portia Geach Memorial Award and Blake Prize and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize seven times. Most recently, her work was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Ravenswood Australian Woman’s Art Prize in 2020.