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Media Launch of the Alliance Française Film Festival

October 24, 2018




The film Eva (1962) was directed by Joseph Losey who was inspired by The New Wave and Italian auteur films of the 60s paying homage to the two men who were at the time were the supreme masters of Italian cinema – Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. Eva was a French and Italian co production.

Director Joseph Losey

Watching this film at the Astor cinema in Melbourne in October 2018 made me only too aware of how dated this film is today, it seems many young people in the audience found it unintentionally funny. It is extremely melodramatic and its moral imperatives adultery, sex, gambling, drinking, fraud are all acceptable in 2018.

The film is about Eva, played by Jeanne Moreau – a glacial goddess of manipulation and destruction who is totally corrupt but a beguiling femme fatale. Eva wins the soul of a famous pretentious writer Tyvian Jones ( Stanley Baker) whose supposedly latest book is called rather ironically L’etranger en enfer The stranger in hell. The film is set in Venice in winter and is visually stunning albeit in black and white.

Sociologically its a fascinating film. When the writer slaps the feisty Eva across the face she retaliates by saying “only my husband is allowed to do that”. How times have changed.

Moreau’s face and voice are as always beguiling but it is the clothes and sound track that are totally mesmerising. In the film the character Eva is compulsively listening to a Billy Holiday’s song “ Willow weep for me “ that becomes the soundtrack of the film. The clothes were designed by Pierre Cardin of whom Moreau had a romantic five year relationship. She twice wears his iconic cropped jacket with large buttons and a rosette and appears in Cardin’s stunning brocade evening gown with a crystal beaded skirt. The wardrobe and hats that Eva wears in the film are très très chic proving that if you want to be a successful femme fatale you certainly need a glamorous wardrobe.



Quotes by Jeanne Moreau

On the film director Joseph Losey – “I love the way he films; it’s very personal, very brilliant”

On life – “Don’t take care of yourself because you want to stop time. Do it for self-respect. It’s an incredible gift, the energy of life. You don’t have to be a wreck. You don’t have to be sick. One’s aim in life should be to die in good health. Just like a candle that burns out.”

“Age does not protect you from love – but love to some extent protects you from age”

“If you want to live through to the end, you have to live dangerously” 



Private Collections Made Bare

September 2, 2018

Private Collection Laid Bare

My latest assignment for the Waters Group Publicity and Public Relations was publicising not one, not two but three fabulous private collectors, designer label collections at ridiculous tiny prices for Hawkeye Vintage. Joy, bliss and bargains all rolled into one fantastic sale in South Yarra in Melbourne.

The brainchild of fashion finder Danielle Goodwin owner of Hawkeye Vintage, the sell out sale became three frenetic days, selling 2,500 items and stoking the fires of Melbourne’s fashion fanciers. Danielle Goodwin and her staff were absolutely amazing, dealing with queues that started at 7am in the morning and trailing all the way around the block.

The sale was a total sell out, bringing a warm and wonderful respite to Melbourne’s chilly winter weather.

Alison Waters Hatmatters


October 6, 2017

Authenticity Sept 2017

Ali Scan

Allan Mitelman Paintings MARS Gallery 23 September to 14 October 2017

The opening at MARS Gallery on Saturday 23 September epitomised the delight of a very familiar Melbourne art scene. With lots of old remembered faces going back through decades of artistic achievements.

The enigmatic Allan Mitelman has been a well loved and admired practitioner and nurturer of the arts. He never names any of his paintings – all of them are untitled.
I decided after viewing his latest exhibition of paintings that I would personally call his exhibition luminous solitude because that is the emotion they created in me.

I find his paintings sing, soar and descend. They glitter like coloured stones. They are like the contemplative silence after the feasting. 

The detail and nuance is somewhat lost when Allan’s work is photographed

 On Sunday 24 September we went to see I am not Your Negro a powerful disturbing and confronting movie that challenges your complacency, takes you out of your comfort zone and demonstrates how we are blind to things we do not wish to see.

This film is based on the notes and letters written by James Baldwin made for his book Remember this House. Baldwin is a compassionate, articulate, brilliant writer and essayist. He chose to be a witness to write the story of Black America – the message is universal.


Selma, Montgomery 1965 – Martin Luther King in middle

Through out the movie Baldwin’s presence in his 60s suit, thin black tie, the ever present cigarette in his elegant fingers, talks with conviction and passion. By examining and showing us graphic images of the lives of Black Americans from lynching to police brutality the film maker, Raoul Peck, highlights what Baldwin describes as the “moral apathy” of most white Americans. He examines the concept that in the mindset of most white Americans the black man signifies terror” or “dread” yet he suggests there is nothing to support this notion – “but it seems its ever present in white America’s minds”. This is still true despite the 400 years of black oppression.

Cassius Marcellus Clay (Muhammad Ali) with Black Muslim lead

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

In an interview in the film Baldwin mentions, “I forgot who said human beings can’t take too much reality (in fact it’s a quote from TS Elliot’s Part 1 of Burnt Norton). In the same interview he articulates the psychology of the reality or fantasy of black/ white relations – it’s chilling.


Hats Off to NGV Dior Exhibition

September 5, 2017

On Thursday the 25th of August, I attended the media launch of the NGV exhibition opening of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture.
It proved to be a stunning exhibition, wonderfully organised with a hundred and forty rapturous garments.

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AW modelling couture in 1973

AW in Couture wearing Christian Dior hat early 50s

AW in couture, wearing Christian Dior chapeaux, 1950’s

Being a hataholic I was certainly taken with the exhibition of Steven Jones’ wonderfully whimsical hats.
This exhibition also showcases designs by Dior’s successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.
This is by far the best costume exhibition I have seen in the last thirty five years at NGV Victoria.

Certainly when Christian Dior debuted his ‘haute couture’ at his 30 Montaigne headquarters on February the 12th 1947 it provoked rapture, scandal and changed the way we see fashion forever.
Dior had an aesthete’s sensibility, he loved traditional and modern art, music, flowers and costumes – ideal qualifications for an outstanding couturier.

“Fashion tells us things about ourselves that codify or idealise our existence.”
Said Maria France Pochna, a significant author and researcher on Dior.



Christian Dior hat, spring-summer 1956

Dior assembled around him, superb staff at Maison de Couture, but in my reading about Dior over the last thirty years I especially admired the creative imagination and bravado of Madam Mitzah Bricard, Christian Dior’s “empress muse.”
She was amazingly, spontaneously creative, conjuring a hat for one of the collections “Just get me a few straws” or “that dress needs a dog collar, or a bit of chiffon around the neck to soften it.”
Asked who her favourite florist was, she replied “Cartier.”
Dior could not do without her – she was his ideal of womanhood.



The bejewelled and turbaned Mitzah Bricard, photographed by the legendary Cecil Beaton.


Mitzah, as well as being his muse, edited Dior’s collections. She was never seen at Avenue Montaigne before midday wearing an elegant turban, her pearls, and stiletto heels – the personification of elegance, glamour, and hauteur. Mitzah made men tremble – Alexander Liberman, Editorial Director of Conde Nast described her as “feminine seduction incarnate.”





Tacit Art Galleries Triumphs

July 9, 2017

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Tim Bateson 20 year Retrospective

Tacit Art Galleries
123 Gipps Street,


Tim Bateson, curator of Tacit Contemporary Art in Abbotsford with his partner, director Keith Lawrence launched their new Tacit Galleries on Wednesday July 5, at 123 Gipps Street, Collingwood with a retrospective exhibition of Tim’s work spanning a 20 year period.

It was a terrific opening, with fine speeches from Tim Bateson and the mayor of Collingwood, Sandra Cooper. The exhibition was officially opened by Euan Heng who began with “I have been working on getting rid of this Scottish accent since I arrived in Australia 40 years ago”. Heng congratulated Tim on a fine exhibition and noted that when Tim and Keith started Tacit Galleries he asked Tim, why they had chosen the word Tacit. Tim replied that Tacit meant, “understood or implied without being stated a fitting description of Tacit Galleries.

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John Hoerner and Alison Waters, The Waters Group.

It was wonderful to see that some aspects of contemporary gallery life simply don’t need changing, with the traditional element of speeches, fine wine and good cheese and crackers present during the evening. Who said physical galleries were dead! This was certainly not the case at the official opening of Tacit in Collingwood, which is going from strength to strength.

The exhibition includes Tim’s paintings, drawings, printmaking and digital imagery. Tim will now be the director of the new gallery in Collingwood while Keith will retain the well-respected Tacit Contemporary Art in Abbotsford.

At a time when many art galleries are struggling, this new venture sees Tacit Galleries expand it’s already very successful eight gallery spaces in Abbotsford, providing yet more opportunity for artists with the launch of Tacit in Collingwood where there are now 11 elegant gallery spaces covering 520 square metres.


Centre Tim Bateson (Director and Artist) with well known artist and official guest speaker Euen Heng.

Fictitious Realities

July 9, 2017

The Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre,Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
Corner Wilson and Carpenter Streets,

July 1 to September 3 2017

Fictitious-Realities-DL-flyer_web-1The gallery was packed in spite of the freezing Melbourne winters day but thoroughly warmed by the words of guest curator, Robert Lindsay, former director of McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery who gave a wonderful oration profiling the nine artists exhibiting in the Fictitious Realities exhibition. “The intention underlying the exhibition can be encapsulated by the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth” (1923). The narratives in this exhibition are presented as imaginative scenarios with a definite quality of believability, but their significance rests above all else on their capacity to engender heightened perception along with a deeper appreciation of reality and our humanity”.

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Guest curator Robert Lindsay.

Cr Alex Del Porto, Mayor, Bayside City Council said Fictitious Realities exhibition was the sixth exhibition in the gallery’s Midwinter Master series and ‘this exhibition promises to be a highlight on the cultural calendar in Bayside’- a mental and visual challenge to examine the notion that what you see is not really reality but imaginary.

The guests were refreshed with fine food and wine and intrigued by the visual conundrums presented by the exhibition- a stand out being the depiction of a hermit crab seeking a new shell to make home – a metaphor for disruption and relocation in our challenged global community.

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Guest curator Robert Lindsay, Mayor of Bayside Cr Alex del Porto and Chair of the Board Angelina Beninati

Victorian Artists’ Society Opens Heritage Renovation

April 2, 2017

What Lies Underneath the Arches?

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Victorian Artists’ Society

Tuesday 28th March 2017 saw the opening of the recent heritage restoration of the historic galleries inside the Victorian Artists’ Society in Albert Street in East Melbourne. The society was foundered in 1888 and in 1892 the Victorian Artists’ Society’s elegant building appeared on the landscape of East Melbourne, a place for artists to gather, to share their ideas and exhibit their works.



This was a reflection of the enthusiasm and pride that pervaded the formative period of Marvelous Melbourne. The arts society provided studio space for many of Melbourne’s early impressionist artists the likes of which included Streeton, Roberts, and McCubbin.

Over a century later this collection of splendidly restored galleries were officially opened the 28th March at a sparkling evening event. This bustling occasion was not simply well attended but importantly provided a platform for the announcement of the winner of the society’s contemporary art competition

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Audience at the Victorian Artists’ Society event 2017

The exceedingly affable MC, Ron Smith, gave us a brief overview of the many luminaries that have exhibited and performed at the society, including Melbourne’s famous opera diva Dame Nellie Melba who taught at the music conservatorium from 1915- 1931 when it was incorporated into the Artists Society premises.

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Rebecca Bode

To honour that occasion we were treated to soprano Rebecca Bode singing three opera arias including my favourite, One Fine Day from Madame Butterfly by Puccini. Rebecca’s stunningly powerful rendering of these opera highlights left the audience quite spellbound.

Victorian Artists’ Societies much loved President Eileen Mackley spoke passionately about restoring the original building to its original state and an important aspect of which was the restoration of the iconic arched façade. The recent work has repaired longstanding water damage, heating, and plumbing and added a new purpose designed sophisticated German lighting system to add luminescence to the artwork.

The Victorian Artists’ Society prize for Contemporary Art was judged by Godwin Bradbeer, a Melbourne based figurative artist, Head of Drawing in the School of Art at RMIT University in Melbourne from 2005 until 2010. In his eloquent opening speech Godwin chose to reference 20th century cultural icons that the audience could relate to instantly.


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Godwin Bradbeer courtesy of The Art Room

“In a field of paintings, varied in manner and accomplished in execution I am ultimately drawn to those works wherein the residue of struggle remains evident and visceral. Where risk and courage are present in the mix. I am reminded of the statement – perhaps apocryphal of Pablo Picasso’s –that;

“the work of art is a battle between the painter and the painting and if the painter is lucky, it is the painting that will win”

“So on this occasion, rather than presenting awards for fine art or for excellence in contemporary painting practice I have chosen to make these awards for valour, for stepping into the breech, for courage in the face of the blank canvas and for confronting the visual culture of the twenty first century”.

Erica Wagner and artist Godwin Bradbeer

Erica Wagner & Godwin Bradbeer

With this criteria in mind I acknowledge the high achievement of the Jo Reitze, Paul Laspagis, Margaret Gurney, Clive Sinclair, Raelene Sharp and Ian Wilson.

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Alison Waters (me) & Erica Wagner

I deem artist Erica Wagner the prizewinner on this occasion. Her painting Watching the Water has a beguiling visuality and Erica’s work has an energy all of its own.”

I caught up with Erica Wagner briefly after her win and asked her what inspires her to paint. She gave me a quote from the German writer and statesman Goethe.

‘Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.’

“His words kept me going during the many years of squeezing my art into tiny spaces while juggling work and family. For the last 7 years, working part-time in publishing, I’ve had the luxury of more time, but when the juggling gets out of control, that quote still fires me up”.


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Winning painting Watching the Water by Erica Wagner