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 launched 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.
Sweeney Reed and Strines Gallery focuses on the relatively brief yet fruitful periods in which these galleries were operational, drawing works 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 during a time when they were under-acknowledged—including Lesley Dumbrell, Sandra Leveson, Margaret Worth and Bridget Riley.
For this exhibition, artist and curator Glenn Barkley has mined Albert Tucker’s library and archive to explore how Tucker’s fascination with art of the past and other cultures informed his painting over the decades.
The exhibition title cites a poem by A.D. Hope that Barkley found bookmarked in the library, a text reflecting on the way a handcrafted object links two people across several centuries. Central to Meditation on Bone is the motif of the mask, another culturally loaded device that can have meaning in both the past and the present. The display includes books, photographs and archival material from Tucker’s personal collection, together with works by a range of artists who use the mask literally and conceptually as a way to obscure meaning, invite nostalgia, and connect histories.
Saturday, 13 October, 2018 to Sunday, 24 February, 2019
Danica Chappell From the series Thickness of Time 2018
127 x 80 cm
Courtesy of the artist
Melbourne based artist Danica Chappell works in an observational and exploratory way to ‘abstract and re-interpret’ concepts of photography. She uses elements of collage and wet darkroom techniques to create non-figurative motifs, drawing upon and extending the photographic experiments of the early twentieth-century avant-garde. Chappell views the processes she uses in the darkroom as a kind of private performance involving a physical interaction with her materials, out of which her works emerge. She speaks of ‘a tactile engagement between process, the body and materials’.
Chappell’s works at Heide will explore what the artist calls ‘spatial-temporal abstraction’; rather than residing exclusively on the wall the photographs will be installed in a spatial three-dimensional manner that interacts with the gallery space, and with the viewer.
A beloved and central figure in the cultural life of Australia, Mirka Mora long captured the public imagination with her distinctive art and inimitable personality.
Commemorating her extraordinary life and career, this exhibition brings together some of the artist’s most personal work: drawings and soft-sculpture dolls from her home and studio where she kept them close for many decades. For Mirka these two art forms went hand-in-hand. ‘My dolls are my drawings in three-dimensions’, she said.
The myriad works on display offer a glimpse into Mirka’s enchanting private universe, where hybrid characters derived from fairy tales, folk art, surrealism and the artist’s vivid daydreams intermingled. Together they create a compelling portrait of Mirka’s innermost self.