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Mastery in miniature

Material bloom at circle craft gallery
West Van's Peter Pierobon, who grew up in Lynn Valley, studied fine woodworking with the world renowned Wendell Castle in Rochester, New York.

IN the work of West Vancouver fine arts craftsman and sculptor Peter Pierobon there exists a duality in the way he uses the environment to create art.

"More and more I am trying to use materials that I find in the environment, in addition to being inspired by that same environment," he said.

Pierobon will be displaying his affinity with the natural environment at Material Bloom, an exhibit hosted at the Circle Craft gallery on Granville Island from July 8 to Aug. 2.

His work will be presented at Material Bloom in conjunction with jeweller Barbara Cohen. The exhibit will display jewelry boxes that Pierobon has constructed to specifically compliment and highlight the jewelry created by Cohen.

"Over the years I've made quite a number of jewelry boxes that are very sculptural," Pierobon said. "So when (Cohen) suggested that we should do a show together it sounded like it would be a really nice juxtaposition of processes, materials and functions. It just seemed like a good idea."

Pierobon grew up in North Vancouver in the 1960s and '70s. In 1981 he left to study and continue his career in the United States. He returned to the North Shore after being away for 20 years. On his return home he found inspiration in the environment he previously neglected to contemplate.

"When I moved back I became influenced by all the things I suppose are obvious, the mountains, the water and the boats that are in the water," he said. "These were all the things that were around when I was growing up, but I kind of lost touch with them."

Pierobon now owns a wooden sailboat that he believes has provided him with a vast amount of influence.

"I have noticed that a lot of the kinds of shapes that I am building are now very nautical. They are very ship-like and they are very aerodynamic," he said. "I find that the kinds of things that I look at have indeed influenced some of the forms of my work, and I think that there is an aerodynamic boat-like relationship in the forms that I have made for this show."

In working with Cohen, Pierobon found a partner that differed greatly from him in materials and content. Yet Pierobon saw their differences as an artistic opportunity because he felt that they shared a similar structural sensibility.

"If you look at her rings they are very monumental objects. You could almost imagine them 50 or 100 feet high," he said. "The types of forms she puts together share a type of structural logic that my work has, and there is an underlying similarity in the way we approach design and physically build objects from the bottom up."

Pierobon will be a busy man this summer as Material Bloom will not be the only show he is exhibiting at. Salt Spring Island's Duthie Gallery will be presenting Night Gallery, an exhibit running from July 1 to the end of August, Thursday to Monday nights. The Night Gallery exhibit will showcase work that literally illuminates the night sky. All of the pieces at the show will only be visible in their true form after the sun has gone down, and the gallery will not open until 9 p.m. each night.

"It really promises to be a fantastic exhibit," Pierobon said. To view more of Peter Pierobon's work, visit him online at www.peterpierobon. com.

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