Ghastly Characters Are Unleashed in a Solo Painting Show

The night is a transformative elixir in David Harrison’s perversely wonderful ‘Nightshift.’

We're all creatures of the night—and the darkness is partially reliable for our transformations. This is the dark and spooky take-away from an upcoming exhibit at New York gallery, Sargent’s Daughters, a series of paintings titled Nightshift. The show is the latest surreal display from British artist David Harrison, who brings a seasoned eye to transforming the urban landscapes reflective of his London home in the East End neighborhood.

His paintings are a commentary on the changing and chameleon-esque traits of the living, from humans turning into animals, and animals evolving into humans. Described by the gallery as rife with the “mutability of reality,” Nightshift is a dark and magical look at the transformative powers of nighttime, when the only source of exposing illumination is the moon.

The Living & The Dead, 2010. Oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.

No stranger to the artistic concept of change, Harrison picks and chooses from his own memories, like his time living before and after a war, where he watched as his hometown underwent first decimation, then gentrification. The painter takes from his experiences within civilization and meets them with his fascination of the natural world. To Harrison, Nature will always be the "end all be all"; it represents an unconquerable force that sometimes resigns itself to observe mankind, while other times rears up in autonomy to right wrongs or bring chaos.

Nightshift’s symbol of the moon and its role as a celestial bystander is an instance of Nature playing the eavesdropper. The dirty nighttime tricks of people and animals are not believable to a character that has seen it all—as the gallery description puts it, “the natural world triumphs.”

Mind Games, 2010. Oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.

Cally Road After Dark (Stalked Men), 2011. Oil on canvas, 11 3/4 x 9 7/8 in.

David Harrison’s Nightshift debuts at Sargent’s Daughters in New York City on September 16, and runs through October 16, 2016. Find more information about the show here.


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