(1949 – 2020)
Born on June 20th, 1949, Gerry Marks grew up in Vancouver, largely unaware of his Haida artistic traditions. Subsequent to meeting Bill Reid and discovering, at the young age of twenty, the fine metalwork of his grandfather, John Marks, he focused his energy on understanding this tradition.
Marks began a formal study of Pacific Northwest Coast design with Freda Diesing in Prince Rupert in 1971. He later spent time at the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton and he studied under Alfred Joseph. He even learned to make his own carving tools during this period. Through self-study and influence by other artists, Marks developed his metalworking skills, paying particular attention to the technique of repousse.
In 1977, Marks carved a twenty-five foot totem pole with Francis Williams and spent four months in Masset, his mother’s village, working with Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw memorial house front that had been commissioned by the National Historic Sites of Canada. This experience renewed Gerry Marks’ understanding of the importance of wood carving to his own artistic development, particularly as it brought him back to an appreciation of the work of the traditional Haida master carver.
Later, he worked in the UK with Peter Page at the Treasures of Lond Master Craftsman Workshop further developing his technique.
The Canadian Government’s Ministry of Indian Affairs was the first to purchase one of his repousse bracelets. His works are in the Royal BC Museum, the National Museum of Enthology and the Osaka Museum in Japan. He was a featured artist in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s “Raven Travelling: Two Centuries of Haida Art” exhibition, which opened on June 10th, 2006.
Gerry Marks was known as one of the Northwest Coast’s finest First Nations jewelry artists. His highly abstracted designs, flowing form lines and relief carving style were a hallmark of his work.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, a custom order may be possible if the artist is available and accepting commissions.