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|An interpreter of Native American culture, especially male Indians in historical native dress, Dave McGary is a sculptor whose studio from 1981 has been in Ruidoso, New Mexico. He employs about thirty artisans to complete the finishing work on his pieces that are cast at a variety of foundries.
His work is highly detailed, sometimes with several-hundred pieces welded together, and combines paints with patinas. He begins by making a wire skeleton and builds from the muscles to the skin to the clothing.
He grew up on the family ranch at Cody, Wyoming, and in junior high began casting jewelry. As a teenager, he met his mentor, western sculptor Harry Jackson, who was then living in Caspar, Wyoming. McGary earned a grant to study bronze making with Jackson in Italy where he spent two years studying, learning a variety of casting techniques and studying Renaissance marble carving.
Following that period, he spent several years working in foundries in New Mexico and became highly interested in Indian culture through his friendship with Sioux Indian families in South Dakota. Eventually he was adopted into that tribe's Bear Clan and given the right to attend their ceremonies.
Many of his works are monumental Indian figures such as "Touch the Clouds," dedicated in 1998 for the sculpture garden of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Indian chief's arms span fifteen feet, and it is the first monument in Houston to portray a Native American. He was also commissioned by the city of Santa Fe to create a memorial statue of Don Pedro de Peralta, a city founder.
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