Kia Pedersen is not only an artist. She is a printmaker, painter, sculptor, architect and alchemist. Her unique approach to the process of printmaking yields unique results. Her work is constantly changing, almost transcendental, in the way she explores and experiments with texture, color, surface, meanwhile discovering new ways to present and apply herself through her art. Her studies of printmaking and sculpture at Carleton College and architecture at Yale University have informed her own original methodologies and fostered her ability to challenge the normal notions one associates with these areas of expertise.
Pedersen's goal to "rewrite the rules of printmaking" is reflected in the abstract expressionist zeal she demonstrates directly on the plate, with the power of the press behind her. Resulting in relief sculptures or her unique intaglio and aluminum chine colle prints, Pedersen's process is an organic one. Prints begin as thick,dense asphaltum paintings whose complex history, texture and residue transfer to the plate to generate the varied unique surface that will be used for printing. Pedersen the painter becomes the chemist and colorist as she engages an earthy and mineral-rich palette of inks before continuing on as the printmaker. Some of her best intaglio prints express a tactile grittiness and surprising depth worthy of Dubuffet. Meanwhile, many of these dramatically eroded and brittle, often lace-like copper plates never make it to press, only and always to exist as striking sculptural reliefs.
The rewriting continues with her new "Opalescence" series, where the printing surface itself is aluminum, a material that responds more physically to the texture of the plate. This added dimension reflects a luminous quality, where the applied inks are pressed into aluminum, sealing the opalescent glow. Pedersen looks for colors that convey such viscosity and hues where there are more colors lurking in the colors. In selecting these naturally bright blues and deep sanguine tones, the prints take on an almost archeological quality where she cleverly unearths, discovers and creates an otherworldly form of art.
Tracey Hummer is a writer and editor living in New York. She is a former editor of Art in America and managing editor of Artforum.