Punkadoodle Studios

think beyond the canvas


Bear Cages I


In the heyday of Franklin Park Zoo

Back at the Bear Cages on Saturday I went through a mini-crisis of doubt, frustration and cognitive dissonance. Everything felt inadequate, stupid and lacking meaning – why was this even important to me, who cares about a rusty abandoned structure in the middle of a city park? I noticed more signs of abuse, shiny blue bits broken on the ground like robin’s eggs splattering an oozy filling, the fetus destroyed.  Drips of blue saliva sprayed on the massive thighs and paws of the grand stone relief of the bears, while metal plates served as targets like cars in suburban neighborhoods on Halloween. Most likely the culprit had a paint ball gun, but I’d like to think it was someone mimicking Jackson Pollock in rare form for the night. This evidence amongst a fresh round of broken glass had me questioning the lure to this place. I gathered fallen branches and debris in an effort to create a hanging ‘rhizome’ by collaging them together and painfully acknowledging the results. My low-tech solution of binding them with twine was a sad experiment and fed my inner doubting demons.

Marking the disruptions and edges with charcoal

Found drawing… or vandalism

Finally I gave up and dove into the overgrown pools without any expectation. Pulling at the ivy to loosen it’s grip, I excavated long braided strands wearing leaves like bows. Placing them aside I started digging in the layers of dead dried out leaves, only to be confronted with the damp, redolent underneath. Yet as I kept mucking about I felt a renewed energy to be in the process of digging, of discovering – a worm squirmed out of a fistful of compost, a small spiral larvae clung to its shelter and the creamy white root system of ivy jumped out against the dark refuse. Compelled to keep digging, my fingernails blackened as I pulled out multiple plastic chip bags, sighing in contempt. My feet hit the metal first and my eyes adjusted soon after. A rusty ark arose out of the voluminous pile and the trickle of a thought I had to create a vessel was confirmed.


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