Amy Cushing + Lara Sparey Explore Intersecting Crafts With DIORAMA Sculptures

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DIORAMA – a series of three freestanding mixed media sculptures by artisans Amy Cushing and Lara Sparey – distills a variety of multidimensional scenes into an amalgam of colored glass and black metal artifacts to offer respite from the din of existence. This collaboration between the unique graphic stylings of public artists Cushing, maker of bespoke colored glass, and Sparey, a metalwork artist, is born from friendship, a deep appreciation for the other’s specialty, and a fusion of robust industry knowledge.

DIORAMA Sculpture – Vista on view with Smithson Projects

All objects in the series are one-off pieces – roughly 12 x 9 x 6 inches each – composed of powder coated steel, either black or off-white, with dichroic kiln-formed glass and mica accents. Though seemingly contrasting crafts, the partnership indicates where the artists are in exploring the boundaries of their work, respectively, as Cushing experiments with metal’s structural implications and Sparey accentuates the precision of her material against a second element.

DIORAMA Sculpture – Foundry on view with Smithson Projects

The joint endeavor holds great potential for scaling up, with aspirations to interrupt or activate architectural spaces of the interior and exterior kind, as the duo are slated to develop this visual language further. Fresh colorways and designs are in progress due to launch February 24, 2024.

DIORAMA Sculpture – Lunar on view with Smithson Projects

Contemporary art is often a byproduct of arrogance or a symptom of the maker’s ego with very little to say. DIORAMA does not shirk the responsibility to have meaning behind the minimalist aesthetic. Instead, it invites the viewer to participate in an active dialogue with each piece by speaking to individual imaginations and unique human experiences. “In a world of chaos, there is something reassuring and inspiring about creating one’s own joyful place, getting lost and disappearing,” Cushing and Sparey say when asked of the series’ greater context. “That is what we did when creating the work, and that is what we hope for people moving forward.”

DIORAMA, by Amy Cushing and Laura Sparey, on view to create a continuous vista

DIORAMA Sculpture – Vista

Rural landscapes are made more romantic as Vista captures rolling hills and light leaks through tree canopies across a sun-drenched countryside.

DIORAMA Sculpture – Lunar

An urban skyline flirts with the moon as it pierces a cloud in the ethereal moment emulated by Lunar’s dream-like architectural cityscape.

DIORAMA Sculpture – Foundry

A nod to the trade, Foundry borrows bits and bobbins from vague machinery forms, factory rooftops, and the concept of production.

About the Artists

Artists Amy Cushing and Lara Sparey

Amy Cushing’s principal source of inspiration is color and the language it conveys. Her glass work is material and process led, often abstract and site-specific having been multidisciplinary trained in Public Art. Amy has an extensive knowledge of the technical and aesthetic compatibility of glass colors; hand-crafting unique artwork, sculptures, and large scale installations.

Lara Sparey is a metalwork artist creating large scale work for public spaces. With a strong graphic and bold illustrative quality, much of Lara’s work uses precise CNC manufacturing processes such as water jet and laser cutting, sandblasting, and routing. Lara also teaches design and is an established printmaker.

Photos in situ and biographies courtesy of Smithson Project.
Silhouetted photography by Agata Pec

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