Born in Sydney 1947
Rosemary Valadon is a multi-award winning Australian artist (the Blake Religious Art Prize, Portia Geach Portrait Prize, Muswellbrook Art Prize, amongst others). She has been a regular finalist in the Archibald, Sulman, Blake, Portia Geach and Mosman prizes. Rosemary's career spans 35 years and she is represented in major collections in Australia including including BHP Billiton, National Portrait Gallery, Uniting Church, Macquarie University Gallery, Bathurst and Muswellbrook Regional Galleries, Art Bank, and private collections in Australia and overseas.
Valadon’s interest in the ‘feminine’ and depictions of women throughout the ages has been a major focus of her work. This has been explored through the theatrical worlds of ancient mythologies, psychological theories, and fairy tales.
These concerns received wide public attention in 1991 when she won both the Blake Prize for Religious Art and the Portia Geach Prize for Portraiture. This was followed by a series of portraits of well-known Australian women as archetypal figures – Germaine Greer, Ruth Cracknell, Blanche d’Alpuget, and Noni Hazlehurst. Valadon’s focus then shifted towards psychological theories of the self, in particular Freudian theory, and she created works which engaged with ideas of identity formation and gender; freedom and dependence; and issues of human development. In the early 2000’s her attention turned to another code of mythology – fairytales – and paintings based on the Cinderella theme, Red-Riding Hood, and Wolf themes, started to appear.
From the mid 2000’s her work has been centered around the experience of living in Hill End where she moved in 2005 and built a studio –- the landscape, performances at the local Royal Hall, local figures, and Still Life’s capturing the richness of this experience.
In 2009 Valadon became the first artist-in-residence at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney, where she researched the history and depictions of women and crime, in particular the place of the ‘femme fatale’ in pulp fiction and society. This resulted in her ‘Wicked Women’ exhibition showing at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney from October 2012 to the end of April 2013. It features many women from different walks of life: Crown Prosecutors Margaret Cunneen and Kara Shead, crime writer Tara Moss, entertainer Sonia Kruger, and movie director Rachel Ward among others. The show has been described as ‘playful, subversive and wickedly sexy – a re-imagining of the ‘bad girl’ persona.’