Woodside-based textile artist Ann Cofta contemplated the word “Dwelling,” the title of her exhibition at Astoria’s AlterWork Studios, and its multiple meanings.
“It can be thought of as a place where a person lives, or a shelter. That is a very grounding concept; having a home and a place to stay,” Cofta told QNS. “To dwell is about where one’s attention is directed. That fluctuates for all of us, and can even be elusive at times.”
Cofta is a visual artist who works with an array of media, including sewing, quilting, embroidery, collage and printmaking.
The work that will be displayed at AlterWork Studios, located at 30-09 35th Ave., are colorful fabric quilts depicting city buildings and water towers — all sewn by hand.
Cofta began the series of buildings and city structures over a year ago, but the quilts’ quiet solitude feels particularly timely during the time of COVID-19.
“While they are not a response to COVID, they do reflect the moments of solitude one can feel at any time, even in a city teaming with people,” she said.
The exhibition marks the end of Cofta’s four-week online residency at AlterWork Studios.
While there, she completed her largest panoramic quilt to date, entitled “Cityspace with Two Towers.” The piece is 29 inches wide and 56 inches long, depicting side-by-side maroon and orange buildings with two water towers.
There are also several smaller, intricate pieces depicting classic New York City buildings and water towers.
The artist has an art studio in Brooklyn, where she’s able to create uninterrupted, with a sense of peaceful isolation.
“These past few months, it has been a bit of a refuge, one of the only places besides my apartment where I feel close to normal: no mask, just me and my art,” Cofta said.
The exhibition, put together by Tim Kelly, can be viewed in full on AlterWork Studios’ website until Sept. 19.
But if individuals are in the neighborhood, some of Cofta’s pieces can also be viewed on the studio’s window installation until Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The studio building will not be accessible to the public. Viewers will be expected to maintain social distancing and wear a mask at all times while viewing the exhibit from the sidewalk.
“I am so pleased the work is up as a window display,” Cofta said. “While we were installing it, I could see that it was drawing the attention of people passing by on the street. I am thrilled that folks can see art in person again, both in this exhibit and around the city as galleries and museums are opening back up.”