Charles Gniech (b 1962) is a Professor of Fine Art-Graphic Design at Joliet Junior College and has been teaching at various colleges and universities for more than twenty-five years. During his tenure, his time in front of the classroom was sometimes secondary to a relentless schedule as an Art Director. He held AD positions at Donovan & Associates, and VC Chicago, and worked as the Senior Art Director at Hammacher Schlemmer. His work generally focused on print media—magazine and catalog as well as photo art direction—working in-studio and on location around the country and in Europe.
From 2002-2013, while teaching at The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, Gniech served as Curator of the Institute’s galleries and acted as the Collections Curator for the Corporate Fine Art Collection. In 2013, acting as Curator-at-Large, Gniech launched The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions, an exhibition utilizing nonthreatening art objects to allude to human rights issues—encouraging the viewer to consider alternative perspectives and begin a dialogue in an attempt to promote social change. Gniech has participated in multiple panel discussions on these topics and has lectured—at length—on his curatorial process.
In March 2016, Gniech was a member of a four-person panel that presented a session titled Change Artists-Using the Arts to Leverage Change at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 60th Session. In February of 2017, Gniech acted as a Session Chair at the College Art Association, 105th Annual Conference in New York, where the three-member panel defined the ability of fine art to confront social issues on a global scale. In October 21, 2022, Gniech presented a session titled Staying in Touch with Reality: Human Rights Issues and Critical Thinking Skills at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, NISOD Fall Virtual Conference.
Charles Gniech holds a Master of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in illustration, both from Northern Illinois University. While teaching, curating, and consulting, Gniech continues to paint and exhibits at the national level. His paintings focus on meditative qualities originally inspired by the stone circles found throughout Great Britain. Having explored many megalithic sites over the past thirty years, Gniech embraces the peaceful serenity of the mystical structures—a serenity that is reflected in his work.
The paintings of Charles Gniech have been included in numerous gallery and museum exhibitions. His paintings have been acquired for the permanent collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Purdue University, and The Art Institutes Corporate Fine Art Collection.
Gniech continues to blog about artists, galleries and his fine art experiences at: chicagofineart.blogspot.com