Christine Gaffney is an interdisciplinary sculptor from Dayton, Ohio. She holds a master’s in fine arts degree from California Institute of the Arts where she studied Art and Technology and Integrated Media. She has also studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. Her practice embraces ideas around body image, body politics, and feminism including disability justice.
I consider myself an interdisciplinary sculptor. I often employ my own body as a sculptural object to express agency over my own body and to collapse the relationship between the object and the maker. There is also a performative relationship between my work and my body and yet, even when I am performing, I consider myself to be sculpting. When I am making plastic work, I often incorporate ‘evidence’ of the construction of the work and of the maker– thus the sculpture itself becomes a crucible, a kind of performance, an index of the process of its making and plastic work all in one. These differing strategies are placed into conversation with one another through dancing, not only the physical dance but through the dance communication happening in all the processes of artmaking and art reception.
My works materially function as portraits but they can often be seen as a challenge to the idea of a portrait, what I’ve called, an anti-portrait, a portrait that shows the process of making the portrait. There is a sense of urgency and compulsion in my work– one can feel this in the way that inks are applied in haste, or painting tape is left for the viewer to see– what other artists might consider technical errors are made intentionally visible in my works. I am interested in making art that has identifiable aesthetic and formal qualities while exploring, experimenting, and largely disregarding the tradition of classical art. I often point at the aporia, a irresolvable contradiction that I am troubled by– and comment on the unitary nature of the male and institutional gaze by exploring many different forms of art making. By collapsing the relationship between subject “male” and object “non-male” that the male artists came to gaze upon, I intend to first subvert this tradition but more importantly I create by being the subject “non-male” myself to gaze. I strive to create by challenging the equation of subject and object: the subject “I” is looking at the subject “myself”. In other words, I challenge the power of gazes from three perspectives, the institutional, gendered, subject-object subversion.
I work with technology in my sculpture and drawing practice -- specifically with Artificial Intelligence. I gather data based on my body and employ AI software (GANs, latent diffusion models) to generate new “real” images of my body. These seemingly “real” images become a departure point for future transformation made with drawings and sculptures. When working with dataset collection and AI generation to create artwork, either the lack of information or the exceeding of information in data itself points to an abstraction of forms that these numbers pose. By working with these abstract data-generated forms, I control how much of myself I reveal and how I reveal it. I have agency over my image as I attempt to control what the viewer sees. My work is very intuitive; by creating my own datasets, I am generating AI in line with that intuition. I am especially interested in the phantom presence of the human (pre-technological enhancement) in my work. This is apparent in the AI-informed work as well as in the other works, such as the sculptures I created using “labor-saving” household robotic appliances. I have exhibited work incorporating Roomba vacuum cleaners as a wearable dress, window cleaners that climb the gallery walls, and Dust Busters with contact microphones in them. This urge to go against gender expectations surrounding domesticity burns against the shadows cast by domination, control, and fear.