b. 1956, New Zealand

John Reynolds Biography

John Reynolds is well known as a prolific Auckland artist fond of writing commonplace yet highly ambiguous phrases (with fibreglass-tipped marker pens or oil stick) on small canvases—usually featuring conceptual, idiomatic, literary, art historical or ecological references. He also draws traversing linear marks over abstracted patterned space in much larger colour field paintings.

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Early Years and Education

Born in Auckland in 1956, Reynolds had his further education at Elam School of Fine Art in Auckland University in the late seventies, focussing on drawing as painting. A well read, articulate and charismatic conversationist, his exhibiting career began when legendary Wellington dealer Peter McLeavey invited him and his friend Julian Dashper to present a joint show in 1981.

Reynolds' early paintings featured groups of staccato marks (distinctive clusters of intertwined, broken lines) and an abstracted, energised graphic sensibility, even when using acrylic or oil paint. This was married with an earthy approach, enjoying the rawness of his materials, mixed with an insatiable and extremely refined curiosity.

John Reynolds' earlier artworks include Touchstone for a Map, 1985; Untitled, 1986; Untitled, 1987; Icon, 1988; Nine Lives, 2003.

Seminal Artworks and Developments

Over the years the marks in Reynolds' works have become less dense, less frenetic, with less illusory depth—becoming more pictographic and at times more diagrammatic and more cognisant of the picture plane.

His painting (in its drawing) has also changed to become much more language-based in subject-matter, less overtly sensual, and, through words, alludes to a wide range of fields such as art history, Greek mythology, architecture, literature, and philosophy. Reynolds has also developed considerable skills in printmaking (especially when collaborating with PG gallery192), graphic design, installation, site specific landscape design and sculpture, and is a keen collaborator with other artists like Ralph Hotere, along with various architects, theatre directors, clothing designers (Workshop, World, Karen Walker), book designers and writers.

An interesting late career development is his outdoor sculpture saw Reynolds, in a Surrealist fashion, present motorway signage on the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. BIG WAVE TERRITORY, 2011 incorporates fifteen arrows wittily pointing to different local cultural, recreational, and fiscally earning locations, even some indoor sites when presenting art or a writer's home. The project is an intriguing parallel to the VAGABONDAGE 'motorway sign', a homage to McCahon that Reynolds presented in Auckland-based gallery Starkwhite in 2013.

Later John Reynolds artworks include: Cloud, 2006; Looking West, Late Afternoon, Low Water, 2007; The Art of War, 2010; Higgs Bosun Blues, 2013; French Bay Darkly, 2017.

In 2020 prominent New Zealand filmmaker, Shirley Horrocks made a short TV documentary about the artist titled, Questions for Mr. Reynolds.

John Reynolds Exhibitions

John Reynolds has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Recent Solo Exhibitions include: A Car, a Man, a Maraca, McLeavey Gallery, Wellington, 2023; APOCALYPSEoCLOCK, Starkwhite, Auckland, 2022; Smoke and Mirrors, Wallace Arts Centre, Pah Homestead, Auckland, 2022; In the Street I was Lost, PGgallery192, Christchurch, 2020; Thoughts & Prayers, McLeavey Gallery, Wellington, 2018; psychogeographyblues, PG gallery192, 2018; Manifesto, Tauranga Art Gallery, 2015; Epistamadolgies, Auckland Art Gallery, 2015; [NOMADOLOGY loitering with intent], Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2010.

Recent Group Exhibitions include: Group Exhibition, DNA, Berlin, 2019; ANZAC Centenary Print Portfolio, Parliament House, Canberra, 2016; Julian Dashper & Friends, curated by Robert Leonard, City Gallery Wellington, 2015; Lines across the ocean, MOCA, Santiago, Chile, 2013; Kermadec, Maritime Museum, Auckland & City Gallery Wellington, 2012.

Collections

John Reynolds' artwork is in several collections including, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; The Chartwell Collection, Auckland; Te Papa Tongarewa - The Museum of New Zealand; and Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2023

John Reynolds
featured artworks

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APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #5 by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
John Reynolds APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #5, 2022 Acrylic and paint marker on canvas, diptych
214 x 306 cm
Starkwhite Request Price & Availability
APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #4 by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
John Reynolds APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #4, 2022 Acrylic and paint marker on canvas, diptych
140 x 200 cm
Starkwhite Request Price & Availability
APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #1 by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
John Reynolds APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #1, 2022 Acrylic and paint marker on canvas, diptych
214 x 306 cm
Starkwhite Request Price & Availability
APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #3 by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
John Reynolds APOCALYPSEoCLOCK #3, 2022 Acrylic and paint marker on canvas, diptych
214 x 206 cm
Starkwhite Request Price & Availability
Fire and Ash by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
John Reynolds Fire and Ash, 2019 Paint marker, pencil and acrylic on unstretched linen
210 x 400 cm
Starkwhite Request Price & Availability
The Second Fall by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting
John Reynolds The Second Fall, 2008 Acrylic and enamel on canvas
209 x 184 cm
Two Rooms Request Price & Availability
How Fiction Works by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting
John Reynolds How Fiction Works, 2008 Oil and acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Two Rooms Request Price & Availability
How Fiction Works #6 by John Reynolds contemporary artwork painting
John Reynolds How Fiction Works #6, 2008 Oil and acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Two Rooms Request Price & Availability
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John Reynolds
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