The ambiguities of shadow in Daniel Unverricht’s oil paintings capture a sense of dislocation of the impending journey into the unknown.
Unverricht has attained an independent and unique view of society, providing a rare insight into the urban nocturnal underworld of New Zealand.
Although Unverricht depicts the deserted streets of his hometown in Hawke’s Bay, they could be located anywhere in New Zealand. What would be very ordinary street scenes by daylight have been transformed into something quite extraordinary. If you like dark, dramatically lit realism. Daniel Unverricht is throwing illumination on the bits and pieces of everyday, or overnight, life in small-town New Zealand. A lurid light makes a mystery of petrol stations, supermarkets and Great Cutz, the hairdresser. Unverricht’s depiction of the urban environ demonstrates his continual concern for chiaroscuro. While his paintings alternate in scale from large to small, his treatment of the subject and focus on light and shadow remains constant. Artificial light spills from shop windows, telephone boxes, neon signs and street lamps casting harsh shadows and contrasting sharp outlines on the surrounding buildings to create a charged atmosphere. Emotive tension is further enhanced by the implicit presence yet unsettling absence of humans.
Unverricht creates an environment of claustrophobic unease in which he expresses the often-unacknowledged fear and human isolation city life generates.
“The relationship between light and dark is interesting: the idea that shadows can physically consume space and objects, that artificial light (from streetlights) can give a false sense of
security. Lit up cities have pseudo safety. I want my work to capture that with areas of inescapability and multiple-choice exits. You can’t escape the
ambiguity of shadow.” (2)
(1) T.J. McNamara, The New Zealand Herald, 24th Sept 2003
(2) Daniel Unverricht, Artist Statement, 2004
Daniel currently has an exhibition at the Hastings City Art Gallery ” Ghosting”, a stunning show well worth a visit !