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October 5, 2009 6:23 PM

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Hands On with Kia Pedersen

An untitled Pedersen piece.photo by Joseph Pluchino Kia Pedersen wants museumgoers to get a feel for her artwork -- literally. Hence the name of her latest solo exhibit, "Please Touch." "Everyone walks in and the first thing they say...

An untitled Pedersen piece.
photo by Joseph Pluchino
Kia Pedersen wants museumgoers to get a feel for her artwork -- literally. Hence the name of her latest solo exhibit, "Please Touch." "Everyone walks in and the first thing they say is, 'Can we really?'" Pedersen said on Thursday night at her opening at KPF Gallery in New York City.

Her guests took instruction well, getting their hands on etched copper plates, intaglio-style prints and textured canvases, which were puckered by multiple gesso applications.

"I've always disliked how sterile and refined art seems to be," the 42-year-old says. "When I'm making [my pieces], as a printmaker, [I'm] reading them with my hands. Why not share that?"

Her enthusiasm might stem from the fact that Pedersen is relatively new to her calling. She initially followed in the footsteps of her architect father William (KPF Gallery is in the space that's home to Kohn Pedersen Fox, the renowned firm he cofounded), receiving her Masters of Architecture from Yale and later managing design and construction for Polo Ralph Lauren's stores in South and Central America.
Kia Pedersen
photo by Joseph Pluchino
"It was my best job ever," she remembers. But she gave it up in 2002 to pursue the fine arts full time, which she had studied back in her undergrad days at Carleton College. Her methods are unorthodox, employing techniques and tools interchangeably amongst the panoply of artistic mediums she has mastered: sculpting, painting and printmaking.

"Essentially, I'm trying to approach paintings as a printmaker and printmaking as a painter," Pedersen says. "I just like to make things with my hands."


"Please Touch" will be on display at KPF Gallery, 111 West 57th Street through Oct. 9, 10-6 PM.
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