John Reynolds | SLEEPwalking…
07.07.22 - 07.08.22
‘The Wrong Amazon Is Burning’
A protest sign during this year’s COP26 meeting.
John Reynolds is one of New Zealand’s foremost artists. With a distinctive style that frequently interrogates the logics of drawing, mark-making, and language, his interdisciplinary practice spans painting, installation, and sculpture.
Themes of urgency (I WANT YOU TO PANIC) and despair (BLAHBLAHBLAH) have featured prominently in the recent works of the Auckland-based artist. This malaise continues with an animated sense of precariousness, even stupor, at play within Reynolds’ new series of painting titled SLEEPwalking which opens at Starkwhite Queenstown on the 7th of July.
Reynolds has mined similar territory before, drawing on ruinous moments and misalignments of fate in politics, the art scene, and popular culture. The six new paintings created with metallic marker and acrylic on canvas feature nocturnal grounds that loom dusky and pungent. Against a scaffolding of collapsing structures, fragmented texts, and a dazed attempt at way-finding they cast an elegant and hallucinogenic web of imagery and association. And yet Reynolds seems to suggest that despite this shadow play of slow-dawning alarm, we may yet stumble toward the light.
Quoting the UK’s National Health Service, the artist comments “If you talk to a person who is sleepwalking, they may partially respond or say things that do not make sense”. Are we sleepwalking towards disaster or change, this new body of work asks, or are we just asleep?