Cynthia Daignault is an American artist, born in Baltimore, Maryland and currently based in New York and Los Angeles. Daignalut works mostly in series, and almost always in the format of small-scale painting, which come together to form a single larger work that visually reflects a lived experience. Whether it is clouds, land, the sunset, a still life or a found image, Daignault’s works record transitory moments creating a poetic interplay between creation of a work through the dissolution of a moment that is at once seen, experienced, remembered and imagined; a moment that can be universal, but which for each person can also be intensely personal.
Daignault takes great pride in working with the traditional materials of oil on lead primed linen with a traditional palate in an age where the painting tradition is becoming increasingly obsolete and has said ‘I find it incredibly moving that I may be among the last generation of painters to even have the option of working in the same materials as Velazques, Courbet, Goya, Manet, Titian or Tiepolo.
While Daignault’s work is intense in its accuracy and compositional rigor, by working in series she moves beyond the traditional single canvas representation allowing her work to transcend the bounds of basic figuration and bring into play more conceptual notions by forging meaning across groups of images. Her work attempts to readdress assumptions about what painting is and how it can function within the widening landscape of art. In each exhibition, she tests ideas about representation, art history, space, and time in experiments that feel playful and original. In this way she resists traditional labels ‘I am not a conceptual painter, nor is anyone, for the term implies that there is a type of painting that is non-conceptual. The very act of rendering anything in paint is conceptual. I am not a figurative painting, nor is anyone, for the term implies that the act of figuration isn’t at its core and act of abstraction. I endeavour to dismantle these binaries with which we talk about painting (alive, dead, figurative, abstract, conceptual, expressionist) to explore the liminal spaces between polarities in order to expand the meaning and relevance of painting in contemporary art and life.’
Daignault attended Stanford University, was a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and was the recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant. Her paintings have been the subject of numerous solo shows, including exhibitions at White Columns, Lisa Cooley and Rowhouse Project; and of numerous group shows, including exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Fort Worth Modern, and the Brooklyn Museum.
In addition to her visual practice, Daignault is an active writer. She is the founder of the publication A-Z, an editor of the Sean Landers Monograph, Improbable History, and the former associate director of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation. She publishes and reads regularly, including readings at PS1, the Seque series, and NYU. She has published two limited edition artist books, titled CCTV (2012) and I love you more than one more day (2013). - May 2016