The origins of Chicago artists Mark Zlotkowski and Sergio Gomez’ traveling exhibit, “Presence/Absence,” can be traced to a lucky hanging.
About five years ago, both artists were included in a group exhibit at Chicago’s Zhou B. Art Center. There, Zlotkowski's and Gomez’ works were showcased side-by side, much to their surprise and delight.
“We both saw the work together and saw a connection between the work,” Zlotkowski. “The work just really worked well together.”
The artists will celebrate “Presence” stop at the South Shore Arts Gallery in the Center for Visual and Performing Arts with a reception Sunday. Zlotkowski was reared in Calumet City and is a graduate of Thornwood High School in South Holland. He studied art at University of Illinois in Champaign and Northwestern University in Champaign and has shown his work in dozens of group and solo shows throughout Chicagoland.
Gomez is the founder of Chicago’s 33 Collective Gallery and the website VISUALARTTODAY.COM, which showcases contemporary artists and their works from throughout the globe. He has also shown his work in shows throughout the region and was the subject of a solo show at South Shore Arts in 2003.
Shortly after seeing their work together at Zhou B. Gallery, Zlotkowski and Gomez decided to create the traveling exhibit that would become “Presence.”
“Sergio's work is more figurative and mine is a little more abstract,” Zlotkowski said. “I think that our work connects through texture, color, and suggested subject matter. I don’t think you can look at either one of our works and put a finger on what it is that makes the works resonate together. But on more of an intuitive level, our work has a wonderful dialogue.”
Over the years, Zlotkowski and Gomez have brought “Presence” to the Indianapolis Art Center, the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph and, closer to home, the Christopher Art Gallery at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.
Zlotkowski described “Presence” as a continuously evolving show; both artists have created new works which have made their debut at South Shore Arts.
“Each venue brings something new to the work,” Zlotkowski said. “South Shore Arts is such a large facility, and that allowed me to work larger. There are four or five large paintings that I’m really excited to see up next to what Sergio’s been doing.”
“Presence/Absence” is slated to run at South Shore Arts through April 21.
South Shore Arts’ Gallery at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.