“Unpacking my identity”: Genevieve gaignard on race in America and the Impossibility of Home
“I’m trying to remind the viewer, with the inclusion of the mirrors: no, no, no, you’ve got to do the work too.”
In this episode
Caro Fowler speaks with Genevieve Gaignard, a Los Angeles-based artist whose mixed-media practice explores the intersections of race, class, and femininity within the United States. While thinking through the notion of home as an impossible or privileged construct, Genevieve reflects on her experience moving back to rural Massachusetts for a residency at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), and how her practice fits within the predominately white demographic of the Berkshires compared to her diverse creative community in LA. Genevieve discusses her 2020 exhibition A Long Way From Home and contemplates the ways in which her collages and photographic self-portraits engage with racial and class stereotypes, particularly in the polarized contemporary political landscape.
As a biracial woman in America, multimedia artist Genevieve Gaignard investigates the aesthetic and cultural divide between black and white, a chasm as palpable as it is “invisible.” She interrogates notions of “passing” by positioning her own female body as the chief site of exploration, challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity. Her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, California African American Museum, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and Prospect.4 in Los Angeles, where Genevieve lives and works. She received her BFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and her MFA in photography from Yale University.
This conversation was recorded on September 24, 2020.