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I’m Doing Nothing Wrong, a new exhibition

I’m Doing Nothing Wrong, a new exhibition by John Reynolds at the Sue Crockford Gallery

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I¹m Doing Nothing Wrong is an exhibition of new work by John Reynolds. It includes a series of large, acrylic enamel-on-canvas paintings (each 150 by 100 cm), supplemented by a group of smaller works on canvas (each 10 by 10 cm). One of the paintings, titled ŒDesert Road¹ from 2003, displays a wildly sweeping silver painted cross, applied in a seemingly hasty, graffitilike manner. Often leaving trails of drips, it registers Reynolds' broader intention of subverting the conventions of late modernist abstraction and its accompanying mythologies of originality, purity and sublimation.

Reynolds' goals are also clear in the visually complex text works, where silver painted words take on a ghostly appearance in relation to beautifully painted surface. These wonderfully irreverent works look like the aftermath of an all-out assault on the field of painting. Reynolds is at his best when using his arsenal of pictorial devices to signal basic tensions between painting and drawing.

John Reynolds¹ self-reflexive text paintings, full of rambling thoughts, are brilliant and often hilarious. Reynolds reveals himself in such an engaging, humorous way that his works excite viewer curiosity, not just about the banal details of his life, but about the phenomenon of exhibitionism itself. With his own peculiar mix of confidence and self-deprecation, he seems to fashion a tongue-in-cheek critique of those who take themselves too seriously.

Frequently, Reynolds takes bits from various songs to make his own new (dare we say improved?) compositions. Reading in an earnest and cloying manner, Reynolds mixes bold statements with verbose sentimental hokum. He says, "God Made Me Funky" and answers "You Must Think I¹m Crazy" He addresses Colin McCahon as if praying: "Give Me Something I Can Believe".

John Reynolds. Born in Auckland in 1956. Reynolds received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland in 1978 and first exhibited in 1980. Since then he has shown widely. His most recent solo exhibitions are Harry Human Heights, Artspace, 2001; K, Rd to Kingdom Come, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 2001; and Hevn, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, 2002. Reynolds won the Lindauer Art Award in 1988 and the Visa Gold Art Award in 1993, and was a finalist in the Walters Prize, 2002. His paintings are rich with literary, religious, arthistorical and architectural allusions. They range in scale from works on postcards and stamps to the 2 x 12 metre painting, Hope Street. Reynolds collaborated with the painter Ralph Hotere on the multi-paneled Winter Chrysanthemums, 1995 and also with the poet Leigh Davis on his boxed set of poems The Book of Hours, 2002. He lives and works in Auckland.

Exhibition opening: Tuesday 16 September, 5.30 - 7pm

Exhibition dates: 16 Sept ­ 11 October, 2003

Gallery hours: Tuesday - Friday 11am - 5pm, Saturday 11am - 3pm

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