Teeming with Flourishes, Narrative Sculptures by Amber Cowan Revitalize Vintage Pressed Glass

“Bridesmaid Returns to the Shore 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 at once domestic narratives and homages to an abandoned industry. Delicate baubles frame a central figure or scene that the Philadelphia-based artist illustrates with scraps of pressed glass. Whether focused on a lone bridesmaid or a hen hoarding eggs, Cowan’s works explore the feminine experience through themes of “loneliness, the search for meaning, the search for love, and the following of symbolism in the mundane.”

Cowan shops at antique stores and markets for materials, although she more frequently scours scrapyards around the country for discarded bits of glass, which are known as cullets. As a whole, the now-defunct industry was booming from the mid-1800s before it dropped off during the 20th Century. “Nowadays, this material is out of fashion and relegated to the dustbin of American design,” the artist writes, noting that she often finds masses of historic hues at the scrapyards. “These barrels of color are often the last of their run, and my work will essentially give the formulas their final resting place and visually abundant celebration of life.”

Some of Cowan’s work is included in the recently published book, Objects: USA 2020. If you’re in New York, her piece “Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset” is permanently on view at The Museum of Arts and Design, and she’s also part of an upcoming group exhibition at R & Co. Gallery. Until then, explore more of her textured sculptures on her site and Instagram.

 

“Young Love Resting in 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 Collecting All of Her Ova” (2020), glass and mixed media, 18 x 20 x 9 inches. Photo by Constance Mensh

Detail of “Bridesmaid Returns to the Shore of Her Full Moon” (2019), glass and mixed media, 23 x 22 x 9.5. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush

“Snail Passing Through the Garden of Inanna” (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 Collecting All of Her Ova” (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

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply