Feuerman persuaded the magazine's art director to serve as the model for the image. It was her first lifecasting. She vividly remembers the straws sticking out of his nose to enable him to breathe and the difficulty she had removing the plaster. She said her goal had been for him to pretend he was in pain. No acting was required.
It was a somewhat ironic start for an artist who told me, "I didn't want to do people with limbs cut off; I wanted to do something beautiful." (No offense intended to the Venus de Milo, I'm sure.)
|"Bibi on the Ball"|
Feuerman was on hand for the unveiling of her "Bibi on the Ball" and "Next Summer." The commissioned works were delivered to the Gardens directly from their stint at the Venice Biennale, where the Tetrault Foundation had allowed them to be displayed while the Gardens got up and running. Feuerman said with a laugh, "These sculptures have passports.
|Detail from "Bibi on the Ball"|
"Bibi on the Ball" was the first stop on our tour. Bibi proudly perches atop a beach ball. Its spherical shape represents the world. The ball was made from stainless steel rather than resin at Roger Tetrault's request. It is a nod to Sir Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" in Chicago. While the work was created before the #MeToo movement, Feuerman feels the sculpture makes its own contribution. Overall, though, Feuerman said she intends her bathers to be a reminder to enjoy all that life offers.
|Carole Feuerman with "Next Summer"|
While most sculptors of hyperrealistic works use real clothes on their creations and stuff them, Feuerman crafts her bathers' entire bodies and swimwear. As a result, it was easy to accommodate the Tetraults' request to feature a hibiscus pattern on the swimsuit in "Next Summer." Punta Gorda is, after all, known as the City of Hibiscus. (For an example of a work using street clothes, click here to see Duane Hanson's "Tourists." I couldn't resist posing with this sculpture when I saw it in Edinburgh last year.)
|"Monumental Fire and Harmony"|
It has not yet been announced whether "New York City Slicker" and "Monumental Fire and Harmony" will remain at the Gardens or travel the world. For now, though, art lovers have a unique opportunity to see four Feuerman sculptures in one place. Don't miss them.
For more about the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens, click here.