Artist: Gary Minaker-Russ
December 04 2017
Gary Minaker-Russ (born 1958) is one of the foremost contemporary First Nations carvers of argillite at present. His carving is not only characterized by traditional form and content, but also with traditional techniques, like leaving his carvings with a tool-finished matte black-grey surface. He is best known for his work with argillite, but has also worked in other mediums including silver casting, wood, and soapstone. He is a carver of poles, sculptures, boxes, bowls, and jewelry
Each piece Gary carves is an original design, His distinct carving style exhibit a profound understanding of sculptural form and his imaginative and powerful interpretations of the ancient Haida legends show his sensitivity to the importance of subject matter.
Gary is from the Eagle Clan of Masset, Haida Gwaii. Gary studied under his brother, Ed Russ, and sister-in-law, Faye Russ at the age of 14. learning the stories, forms and techniques essential to his craft. Gary's career as a carver began to take shape in 1977. By 1980, he devoted himself full time to carving, quitting his jobs as a logger and fisherman
His work has been exhibited worldwide in galleries, museums and private collections, most notably at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, and the Royal British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria, BC. In 2008, Gary was one of fourteen argillite carvers featured in Carol Sheehan’s book Breathing Stone:Contemporary Haida Argillite Sculpture.