Delicacy of Steel

Excellent interview with Bev Petow and Michael Robb on CBC radio North by Northwest with Jennifer Chen.

‘It’s weird and alien and bizarre:’ exhibit showcases steel sculpture

Fantastical and adorable creatures featured alongside intricate metal haute couture

CBC News Posted: Jul 23, 2017 3:59 PM PT Last Updated: Jul 23, 2017 3:59 PM PT

Thought the two artists have drastically different styles they both agree that steel is an underappreciated artistic material.

Thought the two artists have drastically different styles they both agree that steel is an underappreciated artistic material. (Bev Petow/Jennifer Chen)

The jaw-dropping work of Bev Petow and Michael Robb is on display at Salt Spring Island’s Duthie Gallery and includes flowing steel dresses and quirky imaginative creatures.

“It’s true, I watched people come in for the opening and I watched the jaws drop. It’s a very powerful show,” said gallery owner Celia Duthie.

Petow working

Bev Petow works on the upper bodice of one of her many steel dresses currently on display on Salt Spring Island.

Alien and bizarre

Robb is known for sculpture work creating fantastical creatures that would feel at home on the set of films like The Dark Crystal.

“His work depicts a world that is not one I’ve ever seen,” Duthie told North by Northwests Jennifer Chen, during a visit to the gallery.

“It’s weird and alien and bizarre, but they’re friendly creatures.”

Many of the creatures have a marine critter-like feel to them which Robb said likely came from a harder period in his life.

“When I first got to B.C. I was very poor so I tried to hit the beach at low tide to find food to eat,” he said. “So I’ve been influenced by creatures that live particularly in the intertidal.”

Petow’s metal dresses were also inspired by a time of hardship. In 2009, Petow’s close friend died.

The two had spent many hours together sewing their own clothes before Petow moved into metal work.

“I went out to my studio to make something in mourning for her, basically, and that’s what came out,” the Sooke-based artist said.

Much of her work is inspired by political issues or historical moments, including one intricate dress that celebrates the era of the French Revolution.


Petow said the revolt signified one of the first times Europeans stood up against the aristocracy.

“I think we’re living in a time where that could happen again,” she said.

Delicacy of Steel is on display at the Duthie Gallery on Salt Spring Island until August 15th.

North by Northwest
‘It’s weird and alien and bizarre:’ exhibit showcases steel sculpture

00:07 11:45

With files from CBC Radio One’s North by Northwest



Delicacy of Steel – installation

Installing the new show – Delicacy of Steel – magnificent steel gowns by Bev Petow. Opening Sunday July 2, 5-8pm. Show runs through August 15.

Delicacy of Steel

Delicacy of Steel is an exhibition of metal sculptures by Bev Petow, featuring her meticulously crafted steel dresses from the haute couture of the French Revolution – the ‘flamboyant self-indulgence of its “one-percenters” – to the loose body-conscious moderns with their fast fashion – these works of fine sculpture reflect a deeper concern with the uneven fabric of society so explicitly conveyed through attire.

Also showing – new paintings by Michael Robb –  wildly imaginative organic aliens and triffids and new concrete sculpture by Birgit Piskor

July 2 to August 15. Opening Reception Sunday July 2nd, 5 -8 pm

Imprints 2017

Excellent review of Imprints 2017 by Elizabeth Nolan of the Driftwood.

Imprints 2017

Please join us for the opening reception for Imprints 2017 – Saturday May 13th – 5 – 7pm

Artist in residence

Susan Benson is on site at the gallery working on her Portraits of an Island series Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 – 4. Show continues till May 7th.

Printmaking workshop

Four Day Printmaking Workshop – May 8,  9, 10, 11 //  10am – 4pm

with Richard York and Gillian McConnell

2 days instruction $200

2 days supervised press time   $100

includes materials $300

This is an extended printmaking workshop designed to give participants enough time to produce a full edition of a multi-colour, multi-block linocut or woodblock print – two days of instruction with Richard York and two days to ready and print an edition.  There will be a press and participants can practice the techniques of press printing as well as hand printing. Richard will be assisted through the workshop by Gillian McConnell so there will always be someone throughout the 4 days to assist with the printmaking.

Workshop: Participants should come prepared with several ideas, designs, some images, photographs or compositions they wish to make into a print.

To register – or 250-537-9606

Distant Glimpses

Gallery reopening April 1st with a stunning new show of pastels by Susan Benson

Haute Couture held over

The wildly popular Haute Couture show in the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria will continue through the new year. Bev Petow’s delicate steel gowns in the garden, inspired by the Princess Peggy Abkhazi, are beautiful and beautifully enhanced by the gracious garden. Don’t miss it! Her work is also showing at the Bellevue Arts Museum (by Seattle) through the new year.



Pandilliaon – an ehibition of Michael Robb’s remarkable figures of fantasy – August 5th – Sept 1st

Reception Friday, August 5th  5 – 8pm


Sculpted in wood, metal and other found materials, these works come from the dreamscape or from vague memories of the archaic; they are archetypal, both familiar and paradoxically obscure.