Growing up on the shores of eastern Long Island, one learns to appreciate and be inspired by the beautiful seascapes that define the region. It is this kind of inspiration that informs the abstract works of Kia Pedersen, capturing the essence of the water and all its wonders.
Learning to sail with her father as a young girl in Coecles Harbor on Shelter Island, where she currently resides, Pedersen was intrigued by the science of wind patterns and their interaction with the water. Her interest laid the foundation for her most recent art work, currently on view in "The Call of the Sea" at Monika Olko Gallery in Sag Harbor, N.Y. The show continues through Aug 22, 2014 and also includes works by Christine Matthäi.
Pedersen is best known for her gestural pieces on metal, reimagining the traditional process of intaglio printmaking that she studied as an undergrad at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota. It was the straightforwardness of the technique that grabbed her interest.
“Printmaking really knows what it is," she explained in an email, "unlike painting and sculpture there are specific processes that have been practiced for a hundred years.” The rigidity of the rules for printmaking gave Pedersen the desire to play around with the medium and make it her own.
Combining tradition and inventiveness, Pedersen applies tar rather than ink to the copper plate but it is the way the tar is applied that makes these pieces so unique. The directions and flow are created by the wind, inspired by her love of sailing, in which navigation is dependent on wind direction. Connecting her creative process to nature, Pedersen achieves a concrete visual interpretation of an elusive element—wind—in her copper pieces.
The vibrant luminosity of the metal sets off the subtle earth tones of the color palette.
“Each color has its own chemistry and interacts with others in different ways,” she wrote in an email.
The artist's investigation of the natural motion of the wind, drawing on her technical perspective on color and medium choice, results in art works that smack of real originality in terms of their formal qualities. Pedersen’s most recent work, on view at Monika Olko Gallery, incorporates her previous techniques in a different medium: paintings on canvas.
“I love transformation, but the way I work is always the same” she stated.
Petersen's work is always transitioning due to her need to constantly experiment. "If it's an experiment and I have happy accidents which lead me to new discoveries, then I am in my element,” she noted.
Her new paintings have the same dynamism in the application of the material as her works on copper, except here Petersen literally puts herself in the art by applying the paint with her hands in grand circular motions.
Fluid shapes in splash-like formations capture a more aquatic feel that brings a sense of serenity, enhanced by the abundance of blue that she said “signifies spirituality.” Pedersen seems to have moved to more texturally smooth surfaces compared to the roughness of her previous pieces, perhaps to better to capture the sensation of moving water.
One piece in particular, Rip Curl, offers an image evoking a pure liquid form that jumps out from the almost white background, giving the sense of a splash captured in frozen moment in time and drawing the eye around the entire canvas from bottom to top.
The simplicity and calmness of these paintings stand in stark contrast to her previous works, yet the expressive aesthetic quality and sense of organic movement remain intact. Pedersen plans to make more investigations with color in future projects while still exploring the subjects of the water and nature.
“I can see adding more layers of colors in the future," she wrote, "since water is reflected light and contains a rainbow of colors.”
BASIC INFO: "The Call of the Sea" featuring works by Kia Pedersen and Christine Matthäi remains on view through August 22, 2014. The Monika Olko Gallery is located at 95 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. www.monikaolkogallery.com.
Kia Pedersen's work will also be viewable during ARTSI: Artists of Shelter Island Open Studio held August 16 and 17, 2014 across Shelter Island. For details, visit www.artsi.info.
Kia Pedersen: www.kiapedersen.com
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