Josh Olley was born in New Plymouth in 1972 and currently works full-time from his studio in Luggate – a small town situated between Wanaka and Cromwell, in Otago, New Zealand.
Olley began to teach himself to carve in 1997 while he was living in Wanaka (firstly in bone) with a strong focus on the smallest of details and the overall finish to his pieces. As a result, he was soon selling through Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Statements Gallery in Napier and several other New Zealand galleries.
Olley’s passion for larger stone sculpture developed naturally as his abilities evolved. He discovered the wonderful quality of the stone that was surrounding him in the lower South Island area and over the past years his work has transitioned mainly into large works. Argillite stone he particularly favours for its hard and durable quality – and its ability to hold a very fine edge and detail.
The use of the hand is a regular form he works with to present his message:-
“My work is about us/society – the environment has a reflection on our state of being and to help one, is to help the other. Hands are us – a strong form that seems to be actually present in the rocks – eager to appear and each with a unique voice.
The first stage of my sculpture is discovering the form that fits the stone, so the potential of each unique stone remains in the finished piece. This is vital to process and can take years to find.
The whole process can take many months of full-time dedicated work, however the satisfaction and strong connection to each piece develops as the form begins to take shape.” Josh Olley 2019
Olley joined ARTIS Gallery in February 2019 and sells to private collectors in New Zealand and Internationally.
2019 – Heads nor Tails, large scale work exhibited outside ARTIS Gallery, Parnell
2020 – Virtual Auckland Art Fair – ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
Earl Street Journal, Group Show, Milford Gallery Queenstown
2019 – Selected and exhibited as an Art Gold Finalist, Alexandra
2018 – Selected and exhibited ‘Fist that knew’ as an outdoor piece in NZ Sculpture on Shore
Won people’s choice award
2017 – Selected and exhibited as Art Gold Award finalist, Alexandra
Selected and exhibited at Sculpture on the Peninsula, Christchurch
2016 – Participated and received top selling price at Te Kupenga International Stone Sculpting Symposium
Group Sculpture show at Parnell Gallery
Solo exhibition at Forrester Gallery Oamaru Oct 22 -11 Dec
Selected and exhibited at New Zealand Sculpture Onshore
2015 – This Is The Day, NKB Gallery
Selected as an Arts Gold Award Finalist
Selected and exhibited in Sculpture on the Peninsula Christchurch
Three D, Gallery Thirty Three,Queenstown with Bing Dawe and Llew Summers
Invited artist at Manapouri Labour Weekend Exhibition
2014 – Solo exhibition, Fruit of the Faults at Aigantighe Gallery (Timaru Public Art Gallery)
Received Arts Grant from Creative NZ
Selected and exhibited at New Zealand Sculpture on Shore, Devonport
2008 – Object in mind Gallery, Gallery Thirty Three