UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Professor of Art (Printmaking)
member of graduate faculty
Bernice Ficek-Swenson has been a Professor of Art at UWRF, teaching printmaking and drawing courses since 1991. Before joining the faculty at UWRF she was Co-Director of Land Mark Editions, a fine-art print atelier in Minneapolis, MN. Her imagery is created using copper plate photogravure, a unique 19th century process and is exhibited nationally and internationally.
I have quite a collection of stones from smooth river pebbles to sharp, angular stones that I use repeatedly in my imagery. Stones are collected by all of us and belong to a larger “collective unconscious”. A stone is one of the only materials that transcend time to convey the same meaning to all cultures, a spiritual connection to the earth.
I’ve photographed stones for many years, often in relation to other materials as ashes, cremated bones, fire and most recently water. The stones are arranged on an ambiguous “ground” which is free of specific associations of land, country or time. These pictures are made into photogravure etchings that follow the classic theme of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.
I’m increasingly interested in active aspects of nature, both regenerative and catastrophic. I’m also interested in dualities of nature, in contrasts. Elemental materials of stone, fire and water portray processes of destruction, as well as transformation, implying the poetry of deep geologic time.