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Artist Paints NZ's Disappearing Neighbourhoods

14 June 2005

Artist Paints NZ's Disappearing Neighbourhoods Before Developers Move In

Oil on canvas painting "Butcher Shop"

Daniel Unverricht

Small Works - NZ Noir

Oedipus Rex Gallery, Auckland

27 June - 15 July 2005

(preview 27 June, 5 - 7pm)

For the past seven years Daniel Unverricht has been painting the dark and often isolated spaces of New Zealand's cities.

In his latest exhibition of new small works Unverricht finds the New Zealand urban landscape as inspiring as the beauty of the fiords, hills or mountains.

While most people notice traffic and the streets they need to take to get home, Unverricht's interest is drawn by the dark beauty of the durable urban sites, the tucked away side street and the lone surviving small business among big box stores. He is interested in the memories these small places retain within New Zealand's ever changing urban experience.

The buildings of Unverricht's paintings are predominately from small and large NZ cities - Auckland, Dunedin, Napier and Hastings.

Unverricht's night paintings of old neighborhoods are often menacing public spaces where the anonymous gather. He works with the fear that comes with spatial mutation. His painting is interested more in the shape of the city than the reshaping. In seeking out urban history and recording it darkly, Unverricht offers a new understanding of these urban environments.

Says Unverricht, "The relationship between light and dark in the night city interests me; artificial light from street lights can give a false sense of security. Lit up cities have a psuedo safety.

"Our collective knowledge of social violence links uncomfortably with the unease of the isolated urban street. Movies play into this mind soup for me, Spielberg's Duel and bar fight Westerns.

"I'm exploring the casualties of New Zealand's urban decline that lend a dark urban noir wasteland feel. I aim to show the city continues where the sidewalk ends"

Unverricht's work would be equally at home in the context of an arts TV programme as Police 10-7 or Motorway Patrol.

Daniel Unverricht was born in Hastings, NZ in 1975. He lives in Dunedin.

Small Works is Daniel's third solo exhibition at Oedipus Rex. He has been a finalist in many art awards including the Waikato National Art Award, Norsewear Art Award, Nokia Arts Awards - Asia Pacific and 2004 National Drawing Award. He has twice been in the Wallace Art Awards touring exhibition of finalists and has twice won the Hawke's Bay Art Review supreme award (judges John Gow and Linda Tyler). His work has been included in MZ museum exhibitions and Kyoto University Art Gallery, Japan.

He has work in the collection of the Hawke's Bay Museum, Wallace Arts Trust and the collections of many of New Zealand's leading artists including Laurence Aberhart and Dick Frizzell. Daniel is represented by Oedipus Rex Gallery, Auckland and Milford Galleries, Dunedin. He has an MFA from Elam, University of Auckland.


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