This Shelter Island cottage, built at the turn of the century, is the weekend getaway and winter retreat for artist Kia Pedersen. The original house was a lugubrious affair of dark weathered shingles. Small rooms crowded the two floors until a renovation turned a three-bedroom house into a one-bedroom hideaway with a yoga studio! Standing in the middle of the house is like standing in the middle of the lawn. The axial view out the French doors reveals an artist studio in the distance. This stand-alone structure and its tower is a dense pack of quizzical volumes with an uncanny presence, like a royal piece from a chessboard, as figurative and complex as its occupant artist.
The studio is a tall, thin, rectangular building with steeply pitched roofs. The details are surprisingly simple and the materials vernacular. This structure derived from the enigmatic form attenuated to exaggeration. A staircase and its glass handrails recall torii gates in Japan and the roofs of Shinto shrines — half Norman Rockwell, half Edward Hopper.
Kia adopted the house from her parents some years ago. Fond memories of long, languid summer days spent on the porch as a child playing cello while sounds from her sister Lea’s violin trailed in the distance remain so close yet so far.
Shelter Island is a bit like a forgotten land to many unless you’re sipping cocktails on Sunset Beach. This fabulous island is home to artists and writers and celebrities who covet their privacy. Because of its isolation and the last ferry on a weekend is 1:50 AM, why would you ever want to venture off the island?
The island is a perfect haven for an artist of such an organic nature, one who creates simplicity in the compositions of her copper plate series or the bold splashes of color on reverse glass. Void of context yet full of texture, this concept inspired a solo show at the KPF Gallery in New York City, titled “Please Touch,” and the guests did just that, touching the copper plates and textured canvases. Her work leaves just enough to the imagination, is brilliant in its execution and choice of mediums, and is constantly changing as she explores and experiments with texture and color.
Her passion for sailing captured that intuitive oneness with nature when wind and rippled water inspired her next exhibition at the Sara Nightingale Gallery in Watermill, in November.
Kia studied architecture at Yale and later managed the design and construction of Polo Ralph Lauren stores in Central and South America. She gave it up to pursue her passion for painting and sculpting full time and has never looked back.