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Cynthia Daignault at Night Gallery

On view: September 7–October 19, 2019

Typically, we think of a painting as a stand-alone object (containing its own composition and narrative). But at Night Gallery (located in an industrial area just south of the Arts District), Cynthia Daignault arranges her paintings close together and in a row, suggesting that they should be considered in unison (like a book or a film strip). The paintings are all in black-and-white and give you the sense that you are being shown snapshots of a cookie-cutter American experience—a newborn baby, a beautiful oak tree, a suburban home, an artist working, a babbling brook. But, keep looking, and darker themes pop into view—a house being burnt, an atomic bomb, a redwood being chopped down, a headstone. The group of paintings build off of each other cinematically, exploring our contemporary condition, the cost of the American dream, and the fragility of nature amidst our ever-changing world. Here, love, death, birth, and destruction all exist on the same line, the same lived reality. Despite their grey color palette, these paintings insist that modern reality is never black and white.