• print publications
  • electronic publications
  • FIRE! IFP MN Center For Media Arts catalog

print publications

Stone Voices, artist book, Design collaboration with Starpointe Studio, Robert Silberman, essay
9th International Printmaking Biennial of Douro, Portugal, catalog
Phases of Matter, Evanston Art Center, IL, catalog
Bernice Ficek-Swenson Revisitation
, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, retrospective catalog
Looking Back-Looking Forward
, Black + White Photography, Alternative Photography Issue
Women & Print: A Contemporary View
, Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
Athens Print Fest, 2nd edition - Plan B
, Bibliosynergatiki SA Pub. Production, Athens, Greece
Grafikens Hus, Classic Photogravure, Grafik Nytt, Swedish Graphic publication
, IFP MN Center for Media Arts
, exhibition book, Vance Gellert introduction
The Polaroid Book
, Polaroid International Collection, Cambridge, A, Taschen, hard cover
North Dakota Museum of Art, Laurel Reuter
Photogravure, Photographs in Ink, Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN, exhibition catalog
Alternatives: Uncommon & Unconventional Processes 2010, Mpls Photo Center, MN
The Best of Printmaking: An International Collection, Rockport, hard cover
Printmaking in the Sun, Weldon & Muir, Watson-Guptil, chapter on photogravure
THENOW, New World/Old World, Katherine Nash Gallery, MN, exhibition catalog
Ekecheiria, Schopf Gallery on Lake, sponsored by Consulate General, Greece in Chicago, IL
Uncanny Visions, Contemporary Romantic Landscapes, Phipps Art Center, Hudson, WI

electronic publications

Ontologies: Four Visions, Mosaiko, American Embassy in Athens cultural website, Oc. 12, 2012
Photogravure Workshop DVD, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece
Plunder the Influence, Adriane Herman online exhibition/book project


FIRE! IFP MN Center for Media Arts catalog


"Show the havoc of fire, show it's inspired works
And the paradise of it's ashes." Paul Eluard

Of the four elements of nature - earth, air, fire, water - we perceive that fire destroys while the others nurture, although any can turn on us in a moment. But fire also transforms, the resultant ashes nutrients for new life, new possibiliites. A fire can provide mesmerizing enlightenment as it dances for us in teh infinite choreography of a campfire, or become a violent conflagration that we cannot look away from, exciting our primordial instincts and fear as it rages out of control. A gift from Prometheus to warm us and do our work but requireing vigilance as it can be indiscriminate in its rampage to combine atmospheric oxygen with the carbon and hydrogen in its path.

Photographer Terry Barczak lost a family cottage and her prized possessions housed therein when a power line broke and sparked a fire that raced up a hill to destroy the home. Resigned to the vagaries of this fate she returned with her camera to document the remains. What she discovered was an aesthetic transformation of treasured objects juxtaposed with the burnt pages of beloved books. The pages themselves took on anthropomorphic forms often enhanced with wry fragments of text giving pause to reconsider what had been wrought in the fiery caldron. By phtoographing these fire composisitions, she became a collaborator of the transformation through her compelling imagery.

Bernice Ficek-Swenson was not drawn to fire by personal loss but through her interest in the elemental forcesof nature. In her series, Pyre, she reveals the fascinating forms of fire frozen in time, and in other work the resultant ashes surrounded by impervious-to-fire stones. Through the 19th century process of photogravure, she alludes to the burning processs, as it is necessary to etch, or burn with acid the copper printing plates to produce the ink-carrying relief on the plate surface. The resulting delicate dark tones of her images both allude to and soothe the destructive potential of fire. Her control of the demanding process of gravures reminds of our long history to control fire to serve us.

Vance Gellert
August, 2011