By Ann Fink
The McAninch Arts Center and Cleve Carney Art Gallery have teamed up to create a public art window installation at the former Giesche Shoe building located at 400 N. Main St. in the heart of downtown Glen Ellyn. The site is currently vacant and is scheduled to be razed in the coming weeks.
Justin Witte, director of the Cleve Carney Art Gallery brought the work of Glen Ellyn resident and College of DuPage art student Zlatka Burtis to MAC Director Diana Martinez’s attention. They both agreed it would be interesting to feature a public art installation on the empty Giesche building storefront windows to celebrate the important role culture has in the community. GSP Development, the developer who owns the building, Glen Ellyn Alliance, the Village of Glen Ellyn and the Chamber of Commerce were open to trying the concept. The artwork was installed on Oct. 30 and is scheduled to be on display through November.
“Zlatka’s work featuring dresses created from newspapers attracted a capacity crowd when it was featured in a special exhibit ‘Newspaper Dolls’ in COD’s Wings Gallery this past spring,” Martinez said. “You could clearly see its potential for use in a public arena. While logistics precluded the use of her 3-D sculpture versions in the Giesche installation, the photos, also the work of Zlatka, are in and of themselves visually striking. To remain in code, all backgrounds had to be cut out, but Zlatka was more than happy to make any necessary adjustments.”
Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Burtis moved to Chicago in 2000. Though she was formally educated as a landscape designer, Burtis has harbored a lifelong passion for art. Much of her unique style is self-taught, yet was further enhanced by the knowledge she acquired at the College of DuPage.
Burtis’ talents stem from techniques that most of today's photographers have long since forgotten or never took the time to learn. She prefers analog photography using her Hasselblad 503CW camera or one of her "sentimental" Flexaret cameras from her country of Czech. Her style is a blend of "Old World" and "New." Her work is influenced by many, but primarily by renowned Czech photographer Jan Saudek, who has become a dear friend along her artistic journey. Burtis’ skills extend beyond photography to sculpture and watercolor painting.
Inspired by both realism and expressionism, Zlatka channels the work of Frantisek Drtikol, Richard Avedon, Egon Schiele, Pablo Picasso and the musician Nick Cave. For more information, visit zlatkamburtis.com.
About the MAC
The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355. It houses three indoor performance spaces, the outdoor Lakeside Pavilion, the Cleve Carney Art Gallery and classrooms for the college’s academic programming. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 100,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season. The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. Visit atthemac.org or call (630) 942-4000 for more information.
About the Cleve Carney Art Gallery
The Cleve Carney Art Gallery offers year-round visual art exhibitions showcasing a variety of innovative art by regional, national and international artists. The gallery’s goal is to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art through exhibitions and educational programming that cultivate a variety of perspectives, and its the vision is to be one of the best centers of contemporary art in the Chicago area. More information can be found at clevecarneygallery.org or by calling (630) 942-3206.