Phoebe at Work
Twilight on the Gobi
Sunset on the Gobi
From mundane, brightly colored, thick cardboard rolls, the Mongolian gerbil, Phoebe, fashions sculptures. The resultant abstract shapes, organic in feeling, are perhaps reminiscent of certain species of cactus, or of archeological finds in the Bayanzag Valley of the Gobi Desert, where some of the world's oldest dinosaur fossils have been discovered. Since Phoebe, born in NYC, has never left the Riverdale section of the Bronx, her works perhaps harken back to DNA memory, or possibly to some inter-species, Jungian collective unconsciousness.
Phoebe skillfully peels off the shiny surface paper, to reveal the sensuous, velvet-like texture of the stripped cardboard. She diligently chews away at the cardboard, shaping the desired asymmetrical forms. Her teethmarks produce wonderful, rough edges on the rounded surfaces.
The burning question remains: why does Phoebe sculpt?
Phoebe resides in a co-op apartment filled with books and paintings. One of her owners is a noted artist and teacher. Her other owner is a retired college professor, and sometime scholar of ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine history. Perhaps they, plus the atmosphere of academic creativity, inspire her to make her own creations. Or possibly, it is her continued exposure to classical music. Could Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart be counted among her muses? It is a complex issue. The cage of her sons, Bacchus and Dionysius, as well as that of their fellow member of Knolls Gerbils, Fairfield, are in viewing distance of Phoebe, in the next room. Yet, these gerbils chew their cardboard tunnels- they do not sculpt. Nor have the scores of gerbils who inhabited the Block’s home, over the last thirty years. So the enigma remains. For whatever reason, Phoebe decided she would sculpt. The results are for us to marvel at and enjoy.