John Reynolds has featured in many key exhibitions and publications on contemporary New Zealand art. He has shown widely throughout the country, and been commissioned to produce projects for a wide range of New Zealand galleries, and the National Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney Biennale, 2006) becoming known as one of New Zealand's foremost painters and printmakers.
John began his career painting large abstract colourfields, slowly moving into structural text-based imagery. His paintings are rich with literary, religious, art historical and architectural allusions, frequently using both everyday and epic references. His works range inscale from works on postcards and stamps to a 2 x 12 metre painting, Hope Street, with his latest large work Clouds a feature work at the 2006 Zones of Contact Sydney Biennale. The work is made up of "New Zealandisms" taken from the Harry Orsman Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, which John has painted in metallic silver on 7,073 primed canvasses. These were hung randomly on the feature wall in the entrance hall of the National Gallery of New South Wales.
John won the Montana Lindauer Award in 1988, received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of New Zealand in 1993, won the Visa Gold Art Award in 1994 and was a finalist in the 2002 Walters Art Prize. He has collaborated with the painter Ralph Hotere (Icon) on the multi-panelled Winter Chrysanthemums, 1995 and also with the poet Leigh Davis on his boxed set of poems The Book of Hours, 2002.
In 2007 John was the focus of Shirley Horrocks' documentary Questions for Mr Reynolds, which screened at the Film Festival as well as on TV One’s Artsville.
In 2008 John had a limited edition book Certain Words Drawn, published by Random House. The book brings together examples of John's work and practice and contains essays by Ian Wedde (Laureate) and Leigh Davis (former AFNZ Trustee). The publication won a Gold Award at the 2008 Design Awards. In the same year he was a finalist in the 2008 Walters Prize, for the second time.
John Reynolds has based himself in Auckland throughout his entire career.