Bernice Ficek-Swenson

Professor of Art (Printmaking)

Office: B87 KFA
Phone: 715.425.3236

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.


  • Master of Fine Arts, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, printmaking and painting, 1994
  • Master of Arts, State University of New York, Oswego, NY, printmaking and museum studies, 1977
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, studio art, 1974

Artist Statement

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.

Solo Exhibitions

  • Galerie Domus, Universite’ Claude-Bernard, Lyon, France (organized by Galerie Par-ci Par-la)  
  • University of Wisconsin—Marshfield, “The  Fine Art of Photogravure ”
  • Gallery of Technohoros, “Of Fire and Stone”,  Athens, Greece
  • Cervini Haas Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Anchor Graphics (fine-art print atelier), Chicago, ILL
  • AIR Gallery, NYC
  • North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND

Selected Exhibitions

  • Open Press, “Month of Photography—Denver”, Denver, CO
  • Noyes Cultural Arts Center, “Fresh A.I.R.” , Evanston, IL
  • Common Wealth Gallery, “Scar Tissue: Fast  Pain, Slow Healing”, Madison, WI
  • Southern Graphics Conference Traveling Exhibition, “Solarplate Revolution”, Locations include: Boston, MA, Whitney Art Works, Long Island, NY, BCB Art, Hudson, NY, Gray Gallery, Quincy University, IL, Taller Boricua Gallery, NYC
  • Plains Art Museum, “Uncanny Visions,  Contemporary Romantic Landscapes”, Fargo, ND
  • Schopf Gallery, “Ekecheiria”, Chicago, ILL
  • “Brittingham Invitational II”, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art,”Photogravure, Photographs In Ink”,  Minneapolis, MN
  • Frederick Weisman Art Museum , “Minnesota National Print Biennial”, Minneapolis, MN


  • Artist in Residence, Anchor Graphics, Chicago, ILL
  • Faculty Research Grants, (3 grants), University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Juror’s Award, “Third Minnesota National Print Biennial”, Frederick Weisman Art Museum, MN
  • Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant
  • Minnesota Photography Exhibition, Merit Award, Minnetonka Center For the Arts, MN
  • Minnesota State Fair Exhibition, Merit Award
  • Polaroid Corporation Materials Grant (two awards), Cambridge, MA
  • Rockport Publisher’s Award of Distinction, “The Best of Printmaking, An International Collection”
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls: numerous Faculty Development, Knowles International Travel, Research & Renewal, Institution Enhancement, Instruction Improvement and Foundation Grants


  • Anchor Graphics@ Columbia, Chicago, ILL
  • Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
  • Athens School of Fine Art, Athens, Greece    
  • Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
  • Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art Photography Collection, Minneapolis, MN  
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography @ Columbia, Chicago, IL
  • North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
  • Polaroid International Collection, Cambridge, MA
  • Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, Brunswick, New Jersey


  • “North Dakota Museum of Art  Museum Collection”, NDMOA, Grand Forks, ND, 2009
  • Taschen, “The Polaroid Book , from the Polaroid International Collection”, Cambridge, MA, 2005
  • Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece, “Solarplate Workshop—CD”, 2005
  • Schopf Gallery and the Consulate General  of Greece , Chicago, ILL,  “Ekecheiria, 2004
  • Phiipps Art Center, “Uncanny Visions, Contemporary Romantic Landscapes”, Patricia Briggs, 2002
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, “Photogravure, Photographs in Ink”, exhibition catalog, 2001
  • Watson-Guptil, “Printmaking In the Sun”,  Dan Weldon & Pauline Muir, 2001
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Intimate Images”, Mary Abbe, 2001
  • City Pages, Minneapolis, MN, “Flesh and Bone:”, Francis Hwang, 1998
  • Rockport Publishers, “The Best of Printmaking: An International Collection”, 1997
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, Arts, “Earth, Water, Air and Fire”,  Cynde Randall, 1996

International Experiences

  • “Contemporary Photogravure” and “Photogravures of Bernice Ficek-Swenson”, Universite’ Claude-Bernard, Lyon, France, two Powerpoint lectures    
  • “Contemporary Printmaking in the US”, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece, slide lecture
  • International Traveling Classroom, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Drawing course in Paris and Lyon, France
  • “Polymer Plate Workshop”, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece, two week workshop
  • Wisconsin in Scotland, University of Wisconsin, Semester art courses in Dalkeith, Scotland

Contact Us

Art Department
M–F, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Kleinpell Fine Arts 172
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