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Heide Museum of Modern Art presents the work exhibited at Sweeney Reed's two gallery ventures
Sweeney at Strines, Carlton during the inaugural exhibition by Ron Upton, 1966. Photograph: Nigel Buesst. Heide Museum of Modern Art Archive.



MELBOURNE.- Sweeney Reed and Strines Gallery features the cutting-edge work exhibited at Sweeney Reed's two gallery ventures in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

At age 21, Sweeney Reed—the adopted son of Heide founders John and Sunday Reed—opened Strines in Carlton (1967–70) and five years later, Sweeney Reed Galleries in Fitzroy (1972–1975). Both galleries promoted a new wave of daring abstractionists now considered significant figures in the history of Australian art. Among them were hard-edge painters Sydney Ball, Col Jordan and Trevor Vickers; visual poets Russell Deeble and Alex Selenitsch; as well as artists exploring a pop vernacular like Mike Brown, Ken Reinhard and Gareth Sansom.

Strines was sixties cool, and its charismatic director exuded confidence and a maverick flair, playing host to dinners, parties and poetry readings as well as exhibitions. Following in the tradition of Heide since the 1930s and 1940s, Strines was a hub where artists, poets and writers interacted and exchanged ideas. As Russell Deeble noted, ‘Sweeney always saw himself as Flinders St Station—it was through him that activity occurred.’

Works from the period of these relatively short lived but fruitful gallery ventures are on display in the iconic 1960s building, Heide II. The exhibition also celebrates Sweeney Reed’s own work as an artist, concrete poet and small press publisher, and considers the role of female artists—including Lesley Dumbrell, Sandra Leveson, Margaret Worth and Bridget Riley—during a time when they were under-acknowledged.










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