Communications Manager, Fountain Gallery
An impressive piece of art was recently installed near the entrance to the Fountain House Horticulture Unit. Titled The Final Bow (Linda), it is a bronze and copper sculpture weighing more than 600 pounds and standing approximately five feet in height. The creator of this elegant and awe-inspiring piece is Fountain House/Fountain Gallery member-artist Robin Taylor, who became a member last January and is with the Horticulture Unit.
The Final Bow is a tribute to dancers, choreographers and all consummate artists in the twilight of their careers. Says Robin, “This is not a sculpture about age and the loss of youth but rather a salute to the triumph of passionate dedication, to the standing ovations and working scars that are an intrinsic reality of an artist's life.” The subtitle (Linda) memorializes a dear friend of Robin’s – a dancer, choreographer and teacher who valiantly fought breast cancer and whom Robin credits with “giving me the guts to tackle my creative vision.” Other energies have also entered into the spirit of the piece, bringing forth memories of the ballet legends Fonteyn and Nureyev, and of distinguished choreographers such as Joffrey, de Mille, Robbins, and Ailey; the elongated, expressionistic limbs pay homage to the Balanchine style.
The tutu skirt of the sculpture comprises 59 “pointe” shoes representing the diverse roles, countless classes and lengthy rehearsals that form the individual dancer's legacy (and the ballerina is wearing one shoe and holding another). It was crucial to Robin’s vision that the shoes exhibit evidence of sustained use, so she obtained well-worn shoes from various ballet companies; she then positioned the shoes on a wire mesh “skirt.” Additional arduous steps were required to make her vision a reality: first, working from dancer models, she fashioned a clay sculpture; then she made a wax casting, followed by a plaster casting; then a rubber mold was made. Finally, the mold was cast in metal at an upstate foundry. The entire process took a year and a half.
Robin has a keen understanding of the heart and mind of the performer, having spent 35 years as a working actor appearing on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, on national tours and on television. The Final Bow (Linda) is a magnificent achievement, and we congratulate Robin on the creation of this work of art that now graces Fountain House. Bravo!
Photo by: Annie Russell