Justyne Fischer (American, b. 1971)
Justyne Fischer is an award winning printmaker whose work focuses on Social Memorials. Meticulously carving and printing by hand, Fischer’s woodcuts depart from the usual associations we make with traditional printmaking processes. Without the aid of a press she burnishes and hand pulls compositions onto sheer fabric. As light passes through the image, the layered fabric creates intentional moirés, optical movement and illumination. Fischer’s recent explorations feature "Social Memorials" of unjust events involving unarmed Black men, women and boys. Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin and are all featured in these graphic social statements. Each piece is meant to highlight the absurdity of each event while respectfully memorializing the human being beyond a one day headline.
"Through the use of bold and simplified yet complex imagery, I use the medium of woodcut to illustrate specific unjust events involving unarmed Black men, women and boys. It is my hope that these works will memorialize these moments and create awareness that can possibly lead to resolution. Each piece tells a story revealing my interpretation of what occurred or what may have occurred specifically in veiled instances. Suspicious Suicide reveals the possible circumstances and unanswered questions surrounding Sandra Bland’s death while in Texas police custody. Traffic Target reveals the manner in which Walter Scott was targeted and shot in the back by a reckless South Carolina police officer for simply having a tail light out on his car. Rough Ride represents the unexplained, unjustified and deadly transport of Freddy Gray in a Baltimore police van. Loosie Law represents a wild west, cowboy mentality in New York State where Eric Garner was choked to death. Severe and irreversible punishment did not match the crime. Two Seconds is the amount of time it took for an erratic Cleveland cop to assess and kill a twelve year old boy with judgement. The banana in the boys hand is meant to highlight the innocence of Tamir Rice while referencing ingrained institutional racism. Walking While Black features William Wingate who was arrested and jailed by Officer Whitlatch for walking while Black. A golf club cane was viewed as a weapon in the skewed eyes of a biased beholder. The Sunshine State represents striking yet simplified imagery which highlights Florida’s backward practice of “strange fruit” or modern day lynching’s through gun violence against Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin. White men stand their ground, Black boys get gunned down."