Dave McGary was born in Cody, Wyoming, the son of a ranching family. As a teenager, he was one of four students in the United States awarded a grant to study anatomy and the bronze-making process with master craftsmen in Italy. After returning to America in 1978, McGary spent the next three years working at a bronze foundry, developing his own style and techniques. In 1981, he opened his own foundry and finishing facility in the southern mountains of New Mexico.
By the following year, McGary’s bronze work began receiving recognition at national art competitions, including being selected by jury twice to show in the prestigious Hubbard Art Award for Excellence Show. There, he was one of the most popular artists, selling out his work. He has also exhibited in a one-man show at the Russell Senate Rotunda in Washington D.C. and represented the United States in the United Nations’ Environment Programme’s exhibit, Art and the Earth – A Dialogue with Nature. In 1995, McGary received the New Mexican of the Year Award, as well as receiving the Honorary Lifetime Alumni Award from Eastern New Mexico University for his contributions to the Arts in New Mexico.
However, McGary is also known for his monumental work. One of his most well known is Free Spirits at Noisy Water, a monumental sculpture of eight horses running through a natural landscape. The work was installed at the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico in July of 1995. The bronze sculptures and the surrounding park were designed, sculpted and engineered by McGary. Considered an engineering feat, the eight horses, weighing 3,000-5,000 pounds each, are balanced on only nine hooves. The monument depicts seven American breeds: Thoroughbred, Quarterhorse, Appaloosa, Paint Mare (with foal), Arabian, Morgan and Standardbred. One of the largest equine sculptures in the world, it totals 255 feet in length. The top-most horse, a Standardbred, stands more than 36 feet in the air as he leaps from a man-made mountain.
In 1997, McGary released his limited edition book entitled Dave McGary, American Realism in Bronze: A Twenty Year Retrospective. His work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world, including the permanent collection in the Old Executive Office building at the White House Complex in Washington D.C., the State Capitol Building of New Mexico in Santa Fe, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo collection in Houston, Texas.
Reference: artist publication