All Photographs by Genevieve Gaignard
Words by Katie Farley
Genevieve Gaignard’s upbringing transpired into rather a personal perplexing period, where she tackled a strong sense of invisibility. She was raised in the working-class mill town of Orange, Massachusetts. As a child of a black father and white mother, she was the proverbial middle child with fair skin who frequently faced many body issues and subsequently struggled with her identity.
Today, aged thirty-five, Genevieve Gaignard navigates the anxieties of her intersectional individuality and creatively channels them into works of art which reflect 21st-century society and modern day culture. Utilising videography, photography, and installation to negotiate biracial stereotypes and pressing social issues, the upcoming artist applies her own polychromatic portraits that evoke a striking balance of humor and heartache. Genevieve’s overall objective is to use the application of art to inspire necessary change.
Photographing herself as various archetypes of women through the exploration of fictitious, femme character performances, often transpire as being very personal individuals, an element she feels is important, given her fast rising profile. Injects pop culture references and selfie culture – Gaignard’s unique works resonate with the young generation, attaining much attention and acclaim. Fundamentally addressing the topical conversation of racial “passing” along with gender, she illustrates the difficulties of being a woman of mixed race, whilst living in American society. Additionally, the upfront artist continuously challenges herself by questioning mass media, therefore examining the representations of black and white culture.
The site-specific spaces and geographies that act as the backgrounds in her multidisciplinary works are often photographed in rural Massachusetts towns and LA-inspired locations that are familiar places to Genevieve. However, these areas do not completely define her materials. The works of John Waters heavily inspire her works, as he similarly applies the realities of dark cultural times and contrasts them with a sense of comedy and camp. Gaignard is specifically drawn to the film Hairspray, where you will witness many comparisons – the feminine performance, the plus sized character, and black and whiteness.
Despite acknowledging topics of cultural importance, Genevieve Gaignard maintains an uplifting sense of light-heartedness and joy amid her creative process. genevievegaignard.com