Genevieve Gaignard’s work exists in a space of in-between. Gaignard, who is mixed-race, uses a range of character performance, self-portraiture and sculpture to explore blackness, whiteness, femininity, class and intersections therein. The daughter of a black father and white mother in a Massachusetts mill town, Gaignard’s youth was marked by a strong sense of invisibility. Was her family white enough to be white? Black enough to be black? Gaignard interrogates notions of “passing” in an effort to address these questions. She positions her own female body as the chief site of exploration—challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity.
Influenced by the soulful sounds of Billy Stewart, the kitschy aesthetic of John Waters and the provocative artifice of drag culture, Gaignard uses low-brow pop sensibilities to craft dynamic visual narratives. From the identity performance ritualized in ‘‘selfie” culture to the gender performance of hyper-femme footwear, Gaignard blends humor, persona and popular culture to reveal the ways in which the meeting and mixing of contrasting realities can feel much like displacement.
Gaignard received her BA in Photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MFA in Photography at Yale University. She has exhibited throughout the United States, including shows at The Cabin LA in Los Angeles and the FLAG Art Foundation in New York.