The Center on Halsted's ArtOUT gallery opening reception will take place on Friday, February 22, 2013, from 7p.m.-9p.m, The exhibit will feature the work of artists Zuleyka Vargas Benitez and Stephen Lowell Swanberg, and  will continue to Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

2nd Floor Art Gallery Exhibit: 
Carnival by Zuleyka Vargas Benitez
Carnival is a collection of charcoal drawings and black and white photographs inspired by the Carnival season in New Orleans. Fat Tuesday known also as Mardi Gras is the only day during the year where the laws against concealing one’s identity is suspended in the city of sin, New Orleans, Louisiana. .

"The large drawings were derived from my photographs taken at Mardi Gras. I cut 8”x 10” gelatin silver photographs into pieces, scrambled them, and then enlarged each small piece onto paper using the “old school” grid method. I was inspired by David Hockney’s early Polaroid works where overlaid snap shots were compiled to make a larger cohesive image"  artist Benitez said. 

The work combine squares of paper with various forms made from charcoals you can buy at the store, and some are home made. Rubbing, brushing, erasing and smearing, are the techniques Benitez uses to create his art pieces. The artist enjoys the process of putting the squares together, while he doesn't think about the final result, This process allows Benitez the freedom in creating each drawing which is important to him. "When you look at the various squares you can begin to see the abstraction in the making; some squares lighter, some more detailed, some hurried, some composed, and some are just graphics." Joining the pieces together and seeing a recognizable image proved to be a challenge for the artist, since he never anticipated of putting them together at the first place. "I reconciled the edges and enhancing some of the tones"  while making the final piece to work again" said Benitez.

3rd Floor Art Gallery Exhibit: 
Abstract paintings  by Stephen Lowell Swanberg
"With painting as my medium, I am exploring the expressive use of rectangles,fields of color,and appropriations. In each of my paintings, I attach a smaller and separate rectangular piece of canvas centrally to the main stretched canvas. The main stretched canvas is primed canvas – it is sometimes painted black, at other times painted a variegated, non-uniform field of color. Often the attached canvas is unprimed canvas, and so it is stained by the paint (at least initially if there are several layers) as opposed to the paint resting on the surface of the canvas as it does on the main stretched canvas. This staining of unprimed canvas can yield quite intense colors."  by Stephen Lowell Swanberg.

From Friday, February 22, 2013 to Tuesday, April 2, 2013 •  the Center on Halsted • 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613
Cost; A $5 entry fee will be charged at the door.