Cynthia Daignault: Xanadu

4 May - 4 June 2022

Opening reception: May 3 6.30-9.00 PM


The Sunday Painter is pleased to present Xanadu, the third solo show by Cynthia Daignault at the gallery. 


In Xanadu, Daignault shows oil paintings on paper, hung salon-style, and affixed flush to the wall. These are her first works painted on paper, and Daignault creates flat paintings, a step closer to their virtual references. The gallery itself becomes a metaphor for a digital image array, akin to Instagram or Google. Each wall in the gallery represents one work, and after this presentation, the works will then be packed into unique solander boxes that allows the viewer to experience the paintings in narrative time, as when flipping the pages of a book, or scrolling through the stories on a feed. 


Daignault is best known for her serial works. She uses seriality to explore the way media has defined the forms of our memory, history and culture. Unlike the nihilism inherent in a digital image search, Daignault strives to build meaningful image streams, portraying how people today experience complex concepts and ideas. Swirling around big topics like whiteness, or suburbia, or punk, or social media, or war, or the environmental crisis, Daignault portrays our fractious contemporary consciousness and this turbulent moment in time. 


The works are intuitive rather than didactic, with the spinning logic of a dream, yet each is centered around a strong emotional core. Daignault has said that the first step in making any work is to imagine how it will feel when it’s finished. Here, there is a buzzing anxiety in the work, which speaks to this contemporary moment. The title Xanadu invokes the idea of utopia and focuses the work on our central human contradiction—that we are defined both by the idealism toward which we bend and by the violence which tears us apart.