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Amber Cowan’s narrative sculptures revitalize vintage pressed glass

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art

# found objects
#Glass
#Narrative
#Sculpture

December 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Bridesmaid returns to the coast of her full moon” (2019), glass and mixed media, 23 x 22 x 9.5. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush. All images © Amber Cowan, shared with permission

The monochromatic assemblages of Amber Cowan ((previously) are both domestic narratives and homages to an abandoned industry. Delicate spheres frame a central figure or scene, which the Philadelphia-based artist illustrates with scraps of glass. Whether it is a lonely bridesmaid or a hen hoarding eggs, Cowan’s works explore the female experience through the themes of “loneliness, search for meaning, search for love and following symbolism in everyday life”.

Cowan buys and markets materials from antique stores, though she’s more frequently searching junkyards across the country for discarded pieces of glass known as broken pieces. Overall, the now defunct industry boomed from the middle of the 19th century, before falling off in the 20th century. “Nowadays this material has gone out of fashion and banned into the garbage can of American design,” writes the artist, noting that she often finds masses of historical colors in the junkyards. “These paint kegs are often the last of their run, and my work will essentially give the formulas their final resting place and visually rich celebration of life.”

Some of Cowan’s work is contained in the recently published book. Objects: USA 2020. Whenever you are in New York, her piece “Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset” is on permanent show The Museum of Art and Designand she is also part of an upcoming group show R & Co. gallery. Until then, explore more of their structured sculptures on her side and Instagram.

“Young love rests in a gray meadow” (2019), glass and mixed media, 22 x 19 x 11 inches. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush

“Nautilus in Crown Tuscan” (2019), glass and mixed media, 8 x 4 x 12 inches. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush

“Hen collects all of her eggs” (2020), glass and mixed media, 18 x 20 x 9 inches. Photo by Constance Mensh

Detail from “Bridesmaid returns to the coast of her full moon” (2019), glass and mixed media, 23 x 22 x 9.5. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush

“Snail on the way through Inanna’s garden” (2019), glass and mixed media, 22 x 19.5 x 10.5. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush

“Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset” (2019), glass and mixed media, 34 x 46 x 12.5 inches. Photo by Constance Mensh

“Hen collects all of her eggs” (2020), glass and mixed media, 18 x 20 x 9 inches. Photo by Constance Mensh

“Bubble bath in the tunnel of love” (2020), glass and mixed media, 25 x 25 x 15 inches. Photo by Constance Mensh

# found objects
#Glass
#Narrative
#Sculpture

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