Picture Lake
Cynthia Daignault

In 2015, American artist Cynthia Daignault traveled around the entire circumference of America, stopping every 25 miles to paint the scene before her. The resulting work, Light Atlas, became an epic of 360 painted scenes. In her follow up to that work, Daignault set out to invert its logic, taking a single painting from the Light Atlas to parse the infinity within one frame: Picture Lake.

Exhibition Picture Lake
Artists Cynthia Daignault
Venue The Sunday Painter, London
Images Courtesy of The Sunday Painter

Deep in the Pacific North-west, the lake is so named as it presents the ideal composition for a photograph: the stock image or computer desktop background. The mountain scene reduces to a signifier of platonic landscape: mountain, sky, lake and trees. It is an image that contains within itself a meditation on art and index in reflection of the mountain on the lake, reflected again in image and text. Picture Lake is an exploration of semiotics. Daignault layers the syntaxes of painting and photography side-by-side, in an attempt to understand both the single moment and our primal need to capture it. Ultimately, the works embrace the certain failure of all such attempts to document, becoming as much about the limits of media, memory and language, as about the inevitability of death. Life and landscape are fleeting, and these works invoke that contemporary pathos of dread, exploring modern anxiety through the awe and terror of the sublime, both technological and environmental. For Daignault, life exists on the precipice of the singularity, on the razor’s edge between binaries: past and future, painting and photography, real life and screen life, 1s and 0s, existence and death.

Cynthia Daignault is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York and Baltimore, Maryland. Daignault received a BA from Stanford University, California. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at FLAG Art Foundation New York; Stems Gallery, Brussels; Lisa Cooley, New York; and White Columns, New York. Her works have been included in many museum exhibitions, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, the Fort Worth Modern, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Her epic work Light Atlas begins a four-year museum tour in America, opening in September 2017 at the Herron Museum, Indiana. Her first major monograph, Light Atlas, will be released in 2018.

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