Sweeney Reed and Strines Gallery

25 August 2018 24 February 2019
Heide II
Brooke Babington
Included with Museum Pass
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Sweeney always saw himself as Flinders St Station—it was through him that activity occurred. —Russell Deeble

In 1972, an article published in The Age heralded the opening of a new gallery in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy with the startling headline ‘Sweeney Reed—demon art man’. Sweeney Reed Galleries (1972–75) was the artist and gallerist’s second venture, after Strines Gallery in Carlton (1967–70), which the adopted son of Heide founders John and Sunday Reed had established when he was just 21 years of age.

Strines was sixties cool, and its charismatic director exuded confidence and charm, playing host to dinners, parties and poetry readings as well as exhibitions. Both galleries promoted a new wave of daring abstractionists including Sydney Ball, Col Jordan and Trevor Vickers as well as the work of visual poets Russell Deeble and Alex Selenitsch, among others.

Sweeney Reed and Strines Gallery features work from the relatively brief yet fruitful periods in which these galleries were operational, drawn from Heide’s collection and further afield. 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.