Born 1981 in Orange, MA, US
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, US
Born and raised in a Massachusetts mill town to a white mother and black father, Gaignard grew up between two cultures. While enrolled at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she experimented with photography and collage, investigating racial dynamics through composed environments and fabricated characters. Following her graduation from Massachusetts College of Art in 2007, she was accepted to the prestigious Master of Fine Arts program at Yale University. Over the next two years Gaignard continued to explore notions of identity through parafictional photographic self portraiture, video, sculptural elements and installations.
Influenced by the soulful sounds of Billy Stewart (a singer and pianist from North Carolina who was prominent in the 60s), the kitschy aesthetic of John Waters and the provocative artifice of drag culture, Gaignard uses low-brow pop sensibilities to craft dynamic visual narratives. She blends humor, persona and popular culture to reveal the ways in which the mixing contrasting realities can feel much like displacement. Gaignard positions her own female body as the chief site of exploration – challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity.