William Swetcharnik

Artist Overview

William Swetcharnik creates architectonic ensembles of still-life, landscape, and figure paintings, woven together with art-historical references and artifacts from his travels.

Three decades ago, Swetcharnik began making his livelihood as a portraitist. Then a series of figure and still-life studies evolved into his first set of "Shell and Stone" compositions, which grew into a long-term cycle of vanitas paintings.

In 1984, he withdrew from commercial galleries in order to concentrate on several simultaneous parts of that cycle.

At that time he also left the USA and began to retrace various parts of his ancestry, first in Spain, where his work began to acquire its architectonic dimension, culminating in a series of "Vanitas Fare" museum installations after he returned to the USA.

He then spent seven years in Honduras, where he founded a social and educational program to help underprivileged artists. The program emphasized using traditional and indigenous Old and New World resources. materials which he also explored in his own artwork.

His Honduran work culminated in a new phase, Vanitas in Arcadia", which incorporated detritus from Hurricane Mitch and other disasters. He has returned again to the United States, where issues of disaster, both natural and man-made, continue to echo in his art.

As his artistic and social concerns continue to evolve, William is now preparing for some social and artistic projects in Africa, beginning possibly in late 2005. His newest series of artworks will be titled "Portraits of Memory and Hope".

For more information about William Swetcharnik's travels and experiences, see his writings. Additional writings will be posted as they become available. Each of the links at left leads to illustrated essays by William and several art historians and curators.