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Genevieve Gaignard's New Exhibition at Rowan University Art Gallery Confronts Racial and Gender Stereotypes


originally published: 08/05/2022

Genevieve Gaignard

(GLASSBORO, NJ) -- Rowan University Art Gallery presents To Whom It May Concern, a new solo exhibition featuring Genevieve Gaignard. The exhibition runs from September 1 to October 29, 2022.  To Whom It May Concern features Gaignard’s self-portraiture, collages, and installation, Black White and Red All Over, that reframes nostalgic views of American culture. Through her exploration of race, femininity, and class, Gaignard interrogates notions of skin privilege while challenging viewers to look more closely at racial realities.

Gaignard is an LA-based multidisciplinary artist who uses self-portraiture, collage, sculpture, and installation to elicit dialogue around the intricacies of race, beauty, and cultural identity. Referencing regional and historical events as well as a personal archive as a biracial woman, Gaignard creates environments and performances that teeter between symbolic and autobiographical realms.

In her photography, which are staged self-portraits, Gaignard inserts herself as the main figure within gritty urban environments where the boundaries of race and class are blurred and nuanced to challenge stereotypes and profiling of race and beauty. Often using familiar objects, styles, and props she suggests a particular era, social-economic class, demographic, and race. Her poses—often exaggerated—are designed to push against these stereotypes. As Gaignard explains, “I insert myself into the work by mining my experiences, implementing soft color palettes, humor and domesticity. My goal is to create environments and experiences that awaken critical thinking and offer a shift in perspective. Activating spaces with haunting nostalgia for America's past-as-present, I beckon viewers to dig into the imperfect relationship between our inner worlds, public lives, and modern events.” 

Additionally on view will be Gaignard’s installation, Black White and Red All Over. As Gaignard describes, “through sculpture and installation, I showcase antique furniture, decor and figurines reimagined into unexplored psychological spaces. Installation is my channel to create imagined domestic environments as sites of sanctuary and resistance. In doing so, I expand on the vernacular of found objects and settings found in my photography and collages. Sculpture allows me to reanimate the personifications of society's deference to Whiteness into symbols of objection. The scope of my work is an ensemble of visual renderings that affirms Black livelihood and provokes reflection on the often hostile realities of the outside world.”

There will be an opening reception and artist talk on September 15 from 5:00pm-7:00pm.

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Genevieve Gaignard (b. 1981) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Massachusetts. Since 2019, Gaignard has debuted six solo exhibitions and participated in numerous countrywide group shows. Her most recent solo exhibition, "Strange Fruit," opened with Vielmetter Los Angeles in March 2022 and marks her most ambitious body of work to date, both in scale and subject matter. Gaignard's work has appeared at: The Broad, CA; Stephen Friedman Gallery, UK; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX; The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Getty Center, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, MA; and Prospect.4, LA. Gaignard received her BFA in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MFA in Photography from Yale University. She splits her time between her hometown of Orange, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles.

Rowan University Art Gallery is located at 301 High Street W in Glassboro, New Jersey.  The gallery serves as a vibrant cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and the surrounding region. Our mission is to provide a platform for discourse on best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators, and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects, and other public programming.  The gallery is open Monday through Friday (10:00am - 5:00pm) and Saturday (11:00am - 5 pm). Free parking is available in the parking garage on Mick Drive near the Gallery.

PHOTO: Genevieve Gaignard, Vanilla Ice, 2016, Chromogenic print, 24 x 36 in. Image courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles and Genevieve Gaignard.

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