Cynthia Daignault: As I Lay Dying

18 Nov 2021 – 8 Jan 2022

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

Kasmin | 297 Tenth Avenue

New York
New York, United States

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Kasmin is pleased to present new works by Cynthia Daignault in the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery.


Cynthia Daignault’s (b. 1978) first solo exhibition at the gallery will open on November 18, 2021, exploring the subject of Gettysburg National Military Park to propose a contemporary response to the genre of history painting. On view through January 8, 2022, the exhibition expands on themes explored in the artist’s earlier Light Atlas and Elegy series, investigating concepts of monument, memory, and the shifting experience of the natural world.

As I Lay Dying includes wide-ranging depictions of the battlefields and woodlands of the park, as well as paintings of text drawn from Lincoln’s historic address, and ghostly nocturnes of Civil War monuments. Daignault’s approach is a rumination on the meaning of site and time—time elapsed since the battle, time spent walking its fields, and time shared between the viewer and the work.

History painting, for Daignault, is an act of poetry. In this, her approach recalls the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who engaged with political history through the creation of quiet, specific and powerful metaphors. Just as in an imagist poem, each work here is a concrete, uncluttered response to the pathos of Gettysburg. As I Lay Dying explores personal and political American paradoxes—beauty and horror, love and cruelty, idealism and sin—and its works formally reflect these binaries—north and south, black and white, warm and cool. One work in the exhibition is stereoscopic; two panels depict left and right-eye views of the memorial cemetery, exploring concepts of parallax, shifting perspective, and multipartite narratives. These oppositional dualities ground the show, rooted in the central contradiction between the land and its historical context: Gettysburg has a banal and prosaic landscape that belies the bloody battles fought on its soil.

For Daignault landscape is witness, and she draws parallels between the environmental setting and the mechanical act of seeing. Her investigation into optics further acts as a metaphor for the polarities at the heart of American life and the reverberations of historical trauma. Gettysburg (Witness Tree), depicts a scene from her walks in the park: one of the few remaining civil war witness trees—a tree standing at the battle and still alive today. In the lineage of artists such as Richard Long, Daignault asks us to walk with her in order to learn how, or from which vantage point, we might better understand the past.

Daignault presents a work on the same themes at the fifth New Museum Triennial, titled Soft Water, Hard Stone, on view through January 23, 2022.

Cynthia Daignault received a BA in Art and Art History from Stanford University. She has presented solo exhibitions and projects at many major museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, MASS MoCA, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and White Columns. Her work is in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Daignault is a regularly published author, and editor of numerous publications including Sean Landers: Improbable History. The first major monograph on her work, Light Atlas, was published in 2019, and a new paperback edition will be released in early 2022. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2019 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a 2016 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts Award, a 2011 Rema Hort Foundation Award, and a 2010 MacDowell Artist Fellowship. She lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

For more information, please contact info@kasmingallery.com or +1 212 563 4474

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Exhibiting artists

Cynthia Daignault


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