When it comes to how local artists create their art, the medium used knows no bounds. Paints, wood, marble and scraps can all be used, but those that Anne Cofta Jobs are particularly unique, at least, it seems, around Greenpoint. Ann sews, embroiders, quilts and collages to give a colorful and softened look to beloved items, from popsicles and rotary phones to typewriters and gumball machines.
But New York itself is also a major motif in Ann’s work, and now she’ll be enjoying her first solo exhibition at Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Avenue), which also serves as a beer hall and monthly exhibition of works by artists. This solo exhibition, Then, spotlights Ann’s more urban work, where cityscapes, water towers, and brownstones are all created using fabric, paint, hand-quilted batting, appliqués, and more. With their bright colors and softer textures, the works put a playful spin on the elegant, hard and tough facades that have helped much of New York’s architecture endure for decades and centuries while calling and giving a megaphone to these buildings. inherent charm and whimsy.
The work is in progress until February 14, and below, Ann discusses the blessings of having her work shared in her fourth solo exhibition.
Greenpointers: The breadth of your work is interesting to consider here. Am I correct in remembering that a lot of your textile work is a bit smaller, but this project is a bigger undertaking, literally? Is scale something you decided on because you had more time for this project?
Ann Cofta: The size of my work changed dramatically when I started renting a studio in Greenpoint four and a half years ago. Before that, I worked on art at home, where smaller works required less work space.
At the same time, I inherited scraps of fabric from a friend. Many were long strips that looked like buildings and chimneys. I reconstructed what would become urban landscapes with these remains.
The studio space accommodated larger works of art and gradually the size of my work changed and expanded considerably. I always like to work small sometimes, depending on the project.
I love that your work for “Then” is an ode to New York. How did you choose the buildings you represented in your show?
Long walks before and during the pandemic gave me time to visually ingest the industrial landscape between my neighborhood in Queens and my studio in Brooklyn. The character and friendliness of older buildings appeal to me. These rooms, dotted with water towers and chimneys, all pay homage to urban structures, monuments from another era that have endured.
The buildings depicted in the show are a combination of images from different locations. For composition purposes, I make a sketch from photos of my walks. They are never a replica of a real view.
What is your relationship with Brouwerij Lane? Have you ever exhibited there or how did they find out about your work?
The owner, Ed Raven, had seen my work and invited me to do an exhibition. He is a big art lover and likes to promote local artists. The work there changes every month.
What excites you most about this show, your fourth solo?
I am delighted to be able to show the work that I have just completed. When you finish a piece, you want to share it and see how people react to it. Having and enjoying it in person is ideal.
I like that Brouwerij Lane is a place where people didn’t choose to come for the art. They may get together with friends for a drink or just grab a beer on the way home, but they notice and appreciate it. Quilts from old buildings in an old building, it just fits.
It may be a larger question, but how does New York continue to influence your art? Your work has such love imbued in, well, every stitch, and New York feels like a central element in a lot of your pieces. How does the city continually inspire him?
What a nice thing to say! I believe I share a sincere love of the city with so many people. That seems to be what resonates with people who see my work.
There is also something very ingrained in the familiarity of the city and its structures. I think because I walk and travel a lot, and because I’m an artist, I naturally absorb my surroundings. They are part of my visual language. And the city is constantly changing, so there’s something new to see no matter what neighborhood I’m in.
Anything else you want to add?
It’s so nice to have a show in real life! It’s wonderful to meet people and have a place to go to see art. I am grateful to Brouwerij Lane for this opportunity to exhibit and for supporting local artists.