Guest Speaker Justice at Art Building


Morgan Fuerstenberg photo

Barbara Justice came to the Art Building on the main campus on April 27 to give a presentation on her work. Justice is set to graduate with her Master of Fine Arts from UW-Madison this spring.

Her work for her master’s has focused on handling photo material. She has been using found and collected photographs to make more retro-looking pieces and create new stories for the photos used. 

Justice’s journey began when she was hired as a teaching assistant in the Makers’ Space at UW-Madison. Here, she was able to utilize new materials and try out new ways to play with photos. The type of work she was able to do shifted during the pandemic but inspired Justice with new ways to continue her work. 

From home, Justice was still creating artwork known as artist books created from found objects in her residence. Justice said her work was used as a physical outlet for stressors produced by the pandemic. 

When it came time for her Qualifier Exhibition for entering her master’s program, Justice created a new way to develop her photos. 

She based her exhibition on an interpretation of personal archives and how they provided a new way of thinking. Justice used several photos collected from her family members to ensure that her exhibition was a personal narrative as well as a personal history of herself and her family. 

A large part of Justice’s exhibition utilized the artist books she had been making during the pandemic. She used them as books, but also a photo album and some sculptural pieces. 

Justice works to make narratives from her found photos and other found historical information from libraries. She uses these photos and historical pieces to create artist book sculptures. She claims to be “drawn to the diversity of the accordion shape,” and utilizes it often in her artist book sculptures. 

When she was closing her presentation, Justice encouraged the gathered students to play around with their medium and get to know them through experimentation. She told them that “breaking the rules is a fine way of learning, but you have to know the original rules.”