Article: Cavalli, Lauren. “Critics’ Picks: Cynthia Daignault.” Artforum. 20 November 2015
In 2014, Cynthia Daignault packed her bags, gassed up her car, and drove. For one year she
traveled throughout the United States, stopping every twenty-five miles to paint the landscape.
The result is “Light Atlas,” 2015, a series of more than three hundred modestly sized works, hung
edge to edge in a tidy line in the main room of the gallery. The installation produces a crazy-quilt
gradient field of blues, greens, and browns, culled from oceans, farmers’ fields, and arid deserts.
Daignault’s intimate approach undermines the macho grandiosity of American landscape
painting. And a gooey optimism oozes out of these oils, as she manages to make America’s
poisoned landscape of fracking sites or an image of an abandoned building with graffiti spelling
out the word “safe” on its walls feel seductive.
In the adjacent gallery is Somewhere Someone Is Traveling Furiously Toward You, 2015: You
are startled awake. Projected floor to ceiling, 160 black-and-white photographs appear in rapid
succession on a twenty-minute loop from two analog projectors. The slideshows, with a score
by William Morisey Slater, flash through Daignault’s and photographer Curran Hatleberg’s
separate road trip photos simultaneously on opposite walls. The whirlwind pacing of the images—
and the kink in your neck from attempting to absorb all of them—imprints you with a stark portrait
of this country. The projectors manage to be in sync only once, when two photos of paved paths
stretching out infinitely into the horizon leave you to wonder: Is either direction safe?