From June 3 to July 31, 2013, Montreat College’s Hamilton Gallery presents “Polar Opposites,” a sculpture exhibit by Ursula Goebels-Ellis and Peter Dallos, a free exhibit that is open to the public. The gallery will host a “Meet the Artists” public gathering on June 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., a time for community members to talk with the artists and celebrate their work. The Hamilton Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The two artists in this show began with backgrounds dominated by World War II and its aftermath with all its attendant hardship and misery. Influenced by their history, both arrived to artistic expressions that depict conflict. However, while Goebels-Ellis’ art attempts to seek harmony between opposites, Dallos’ more dystopic vision sees interminable struggle.
As a child, Goebels-Ellis experienced but could not understand that humankind seems bound to engage in a never-ending cycle of kin killing kin. As an adult, she set out on a path to explore how this (self-) destructive human behavior had affected her life and impacts the world she lives in. After more than 30 years of introspection, creating and reflecting, with clay as her steady companion, she has come to a place where a belief in the concept of “cosmic unity” gives her comfort and spurs her creative vision. In the current work, by juxtaposing materials not commonly used together, Goebels-Ellis aims to convey the message that polar opposites do not need to fight each other but instead can depend on each other to create a life-sustaining dance.
Dallos’ early work, “The War Series,” was autobiographical, mostly concerning experiences as a child during WWII. This series of nine sculptures are in the permanent collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. That early work has since evolved into a more abstracted, symbolic form, still representing conflict, but with more ambiguous identification of the victims and the aggressors. “The Struggle Series,” the most extensive and ongoing work, is concerned with the two elemental conflicts that affect humankind: one struggle between Western Civilization and the forces of nihilism and anarchy, and the other struggle between environmental destruction and the reaction of the wounded planet.
Ursula Goebels-Ellis was born in Germany in 1941, emigrated to Chicago in 1971, received her M.A., A.T.R. from the University of Illinois in 1983, relocated to North Carolina in 1985 and was a faculty member of the psychiatry department at Duke University in Durham, NC., until she became a full-time artist in 1997. In 2006, she moved with her husband to Black Mountain, NC. Her work has been published, exhibited and collected in the United States as well as internationally. Highlights of Goebels-Ellis’ career have been participating in the 9/11 commemorative exhibition “Faces of Grief and Healing” in Red Hook, NY, and an invitation from the Chinese government to work, exhibit, and lecture in China, which she did in 2002.
Peter Dallos was born in Hungary in 1934. His early years were under the Hungarian fascist regime; he experienced the bombardment of Budapest and subsequent Russian domination of the country. As a university student, he participated in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and emigrated after its defeat. He finished his undergraduate and graduate education in the U.S. and was on the faculty of Northwestern University until his retirement in 2012. His career was in neuroscience research. Dallos is a self-taught, but, as a long-time collector of contemporary art, not a naïve artist. Since becoming a full-time sculptor, he has participated in several group exhibitions and has had a solo show in 2012 at Gallery Swarm in Chicago and will have another one in September 2013 at Artifact Gallery in New York. He is represented by Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in New York.