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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.

Olley began carving in 1997, while he was living in Wanaka  – firstly in bone, and with a strong focus to detail and finish. His passion for larger stone sculpture developed as his abilities evolved. Olley discovered the wonderful quality of the stone that was surrounding him in Otago and over the past years his work has transitioned into mainly large works.  He particularly favours Argillite stone for its hard and durable quality – and its ability to hold a fine edge and detail.

Use of the hand is a regular form that Olley uses 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.”

Olley was an Arts Gold Award Finalist in 2015 and 2017.  Over the past four years, he has exhibited large pieces in Sculpture on the Shore, Devonport, Auckland and Sculpture on the Peninsula, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. His work is held in collections in New Zealand and overseas, including Te Papa and The Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Josh Olley joined ARTIS Gallery as one of our represented artists in February 2019.

2019Heads nor Tails, on display outside ARTIS Gallery, Parnell

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
2015This 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
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