Artist Profile

John Reynolds

Born 1956

John Reynolds attended Elam School of Fine Art from 1974 – 78, and has been based in Auckland throughout his entire career. He is one of New Zealand's foremost painters and printmakers, who started his career with large abstract colourfields, and slowly moved into very structural text-based imagery. He won the Montana Lindauer Award in 1988, received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of New Zealand in 1993 and won the Visa Gold Art Award in 1994. He recently was a finalist in the Walters Prize.

John Reynolds' painting resists summary. When people write about his paintings they invariably make lists. In one short catalogue entry Alan Smith once described Reynolds as "intoxicating, indecorous, hedonistic, romantic, sublime, mythopoetic, epic and visionary, excessive and cloying. Satanic and heavenly, restless; his compositions as turbulent, angelic, chromatic, shimmering and exfoliating, internally stressed, externally unhinged, and ornamental; his iconography as reminiscent of blood vessels and hallucinated architecture." Reynolds regularly combines overblown scale with an arcane personalised language, and obscure intentions. While the effect can be rich, materially the work can also be basic: signs like crosses, scaffolds, veils, webs, knots, road signs and miasmas declare a fascination with pointers and a love of complexity, whilst eternally interested in cartography, and structure. His art is definitely of an academic nature, alluding to concepts leaving the final interpretation to the viewer to finalise its constructs.

He is prolific in printmaking as well as painting, and frequently translates similar themes to both mediums often working in series. He has work in most public art collections and has been part of many international exhibitions as well as featuring in the City Gallery in Wellington and Auckland Art Gallery.

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