Lady in the Lake
In January 2012, fiberglass sculpture wizard Mark Cline received a phone call from an employee of George Barber, a billionaire art patron. "Mr. Barber," said the voice, "is interested in you building a fifty-foot woman."
"Does he want her standing in a field?" asked Mark. "No," the employee answered. "He wants her floating."
Mark was stumped by the engineering necessary to float a fifty-foot woman* until some students from Virginia Military Academy showed up at his Enchanted Castle Studios, seeking advice on how to build a concrete canoe. They pointed out that giant styrofoam blocks, the same kind that Mark used to build Foamhenge, could easily float a fifty-foot fiberglass woman if hidden inside her head and knees.
Mark admits he was nervous as the woman was lowered into a pond at Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum on March 27, 2012. "Like Evel Knievel, you only get one shot," he said. But the woman floated perfectly. Mark christened her "Country Girl Skinny Dipping" (her face is a combination of country singer Sara Evans and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones) but everyone else called her Lady in the Lake, and the name stuck.
"She was received with mixed opinions," said Mark, who said that some of George Barber's associates felt that the artwork was "mini-golf-ish." But George Barber liked the Lady so much that he paid to have her trucked south in November 2012, and floated in his Barber Marina on the Alabama gulf coast. "At the Museum you had to go through a special gate to see her," said Mark. "At the Marina she can be seen by tourists from anywhere. Maybe that's what Mr. Barber wanted to do."
*(Mark said that if his fifty-foot woman actually stood up, she'd be 108 feet tall.)