REYNOLDS, John

Nationality: New Zealand
Website: Website
New Zealand artist
Born in Auckland 1956
Lives and works in Auckland

Double, triple, multiple exposure is the essence of human perception. Look at a light, then look away: no matter where you look, the light still shimmers in front of you.

The visual world bombards us constantly with images. Film, television, photography and printing all throw up a myriad of conflicting and complementary images. Anyone who has ever used an old camera has, at some stage, forgotten to wind the film forward resulting in a superimposed picture. Switching from station to station, certain images linger in our memory overlapping each other. Reynolds catches these moments of superimposition. As a photographer and painter he fixes these moments in time and on the canvas. Reynolds’ works at once capture and belie the dynamism of the perceptual process. They are at the centre of a perceptual merry go-round. It is the calm in the centre of the storm; around the edges the world keeps turning.

No wonder that the painter and the beholder both feel bewildered and “dizzy”. Allan Smith in a letter to John Reynolds quotes the artist: “… you talked about a feeling of “giddiness” which sometimes accompanied your working routine.”

A painting or a print by Reynolds is a mixture of emblem design, drawing, painting and calligraphy. Stark architectural design and lines clash with things which are by definition always changing, like clouds, smoke, haloes, wings, sails and fire.

After reading Ginevra Bompiani’s essay The Chimera Herself, Reynolds realised that here was a very good image for his own work. Chimera and sphinx are both composite fantastic beings, but the classical Sphinx is immobile, silent and inexplicable, while the Baroque Chimera is ever changing and open to any interpretation. The two are forever locked together in an “impossible embrace”.