A native of Minnesota, Gary moved to Arizona in 1971. He earned his Master of Fine Art degree at Arizona State University, where he began working on large-scale sculpture, directly influenced by the Southwest. Though the largest of his works are favorites because of the visual impact, the majority of his works are in the 3 to 6 foot range.
He has vast experience in creating site-specific sculptures for clients and collectors, and frequently works with architects, designers and individuals to solve the visual needs of a given space. Slater works with stainless steel, copper, bronze, and combinations of metals and finishes. Working within a geometric framework, he has found a great variety of sculptural forms to keep his works fresh and stimulating.
He has created large (28') water feature sculptures and small (24") pedestal sculptures; wall relief sculptures, “multiple original" sculptures, and edition bronzes. Gary was also named "Master of the Southwest" by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, March of 2003. Only a select few artists and craftsmen at the top of their profession are awarded this once-a-year title. To date he has created over 500 sculptures since he began his career, with work in corporate, public, and private collections throughout the United States and the world.
Metal is fascinating , and the various finishes and combinations of metals, textures, forms in concert with other elements, such as water, are almost endless. I continue to experiment with all of the avenues that metal offers; at times one might wonder if I have a signature style. That is not as important to me as finding new ways to work with metals and forms, and explore new ways to utilize materials.
The expression that I keep coming back to, however, is the combination of geometric stainless steel and free-formed hand textured copper. The cool surface of the stainless welded with the rich brown or green copper, and lately, combined with other metals and materials, mostly bronze or glass, adds richness to my overall sculptural expression. I am completely captivated by crisp forms with the inherent need for craftsmanship; yet the rough found object elicits a response that says,” hands off---I am complete". Polished materials and reflective surfaces have always had value association; patina and oxidized metals have a depth and warmth of their own, and I enjoy working with both.
Ultimately, my legacy will be that I didn't settle in for a comfortable style, that if you have seen one sculpture, you have seen them all; surprises are what make art interesting.
Master of the Southwest, Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine Architectural Excellence Award: Art in Public Places, Chandler, Arizona Presidential Citation, Arizona AIA Excellence Award, Art in Private Development, City of Tempe, Arizona