INKED and PULLED: In Memoriam – Artist’s Statement

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 woodcuts feature “Social Memorials” of unjust events involving unarmed Black men, women and boys. The Charleston 9, Terrence Crutcher, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and are all featured in these graphic political statements. Each piece is meant to point out the tragic absurdity of each event while memorializing the human being beyond a one-day headline.

“Nine Lives, No Reason” memorializes the tragic day when nine faithful people were needlessly slaughtered in their place of worship by Dylan Roof. “No Help in Oklahoma” represents the unjust killing of Terrence Crutcher, a man who was simply in need of assistance when his car broke down and began to search for the vehicle rental service available nearby. “Suspicious Suicide” features Sandra Bland and the unexplained and suspicious circumstances surrounding her death in Texas police custody. “Traffic Target” features Walter Scott who was tragically shot in the back for having a taillight out on his car. Rough Ride” features Freddie Gray who mysteriously died during his violent transport in a Baltimore police van. “Loosie Law” represents a wild west, mentality where severe and irreversible punishment does not match the petty crime. Two Seconds” is the amount of time it took for an erratic Cleveland cop to assess and kill Tamir Rice with judgment. “The Sunshine State” 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.

Recently, Fischer began printing smaller blocks on paper while combining them with poured resin. “Black Icons” and “Black Icons Insite” incorporate these new reflective resin techniques. “Black Icon’s” memorializes six victims of unjust killings and places them in a religious iconographic format to remember them as saints. “Black Icons Insite” memorializes five victims of unjust killings while including a reflective gun site in the center of the cross. When hung at eye level, the viewer sees their reflection in the gun site.

Inspired by DJ Spooky’s “Rebirth of a Nation”, “Birth of a Nation” examines the legacy of deep-rooted racism within American systems and institutions. Fischer crowns this layered installation with a translucent Klan hood whose eyes flicker with flames of hatred.

“Steadfast and Tenacious” explores the struggle of a slave defying his master. “Our Sons” confronts police brutality rooted in White Supremacy. When the viewer approaches within 30 inches of the piece, the police lights pulsate.


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Click on the photo to learn more about Justyne Fischer
Click on the photo to learn more about Justyne Fischer

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