Valadon is represented in major Australian collections 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.
Her 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.
In 2003 Valadon undertook a residency at Hill End, and stayed in the historic Haefligers cottage. So drawn was she to this unique artistic haven that she purchased a property and settled there in 2005. Works from this period celebrate the landscape, performances at the local Royal Hall, local figures, and Still Life’s capturing the ceremony of ‘taking tea’.
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.’
Valadon’s latest works return to the theme of ‘taking tea’ and her most recent panoramas – four magnificent paintings celebrate the seasons and the produce she grows in her garden – fruits, flowers, vegetables and at times animals and birds. In the tradition of Grace Cossington Smith and Margaret Preston, she has reinterpreted a distinctly Australian feminist and domestic aesthetic.