Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 11, 2013

Exhibit at Goshen College opens Monday


— GOSHEN — Goshen College Good Library Gallery staff will honor Sylvia Gross Bubalo, an artist with Mennonite roots, with an exhibit showcasing her art and poetry.

The exhibit will run from Monday through Nov. 16, with a reception on Sept. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Library Gallery.

The paintings and drawings selected from Gross Bubalo’s life work will feature six elements of Gross Bubalo’s vision of community: the artistic, the mystic, the gathered community, peace, tension and the divine. Original poetry inspired by her art will accompany the paintings.

Gross Bubalo considered herself “not a Mennonite artist, but an artist born into a Mennonite tradition.” According to exhibit organizers, her work “offers a fierce but loving critique of Mennonite orthodoxy by inviting viewers to expand their notion of community to include artists, mystics, women and strangers.”

Gross Bubalo wrote, “My aim is for my work to be a window or door to the spiritual, and not an end itself.”

Gross Bubalo graduated from Goshen College in 1951 before attending the Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue her art. There she met her husband, Vladimir Bubalo, also an artist.  

Although undiagnosed for decades, Gross Bubalo lived with muscular dystrophy, turning to painting as a comfort and intellectual outlet. As her muscles weakened, Bubalo was able to continue painting with the help of her husband until his death in 1989. She then stopped painting and turned exclusively to poetry. She wrote more than 250 poems in her lifetime. Gross Bubalo died at the age of 79 in October 2007.

This exhibit is sponsored by the Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee and the Mennonite Historical Library of Goshen College. For gallery hours, call 574-535-7418.