Wanaka based artist Josh Olley’s exquisite sculptures demand to be touched.
Olley sources his stone from wild locations by hand (none is mined by commercial means). Finding and gathering is a huge part of his work as it is the only way to source his chosen medium. Shown here is an image of Olley extracting the actual piemontite stone the rings “One” (pictured below) are carved from.
There are no straight or square sides to natural stone so he must create perpendicular planes (as shown above) before meticulously marking and cutting the profiles of the circles. The most challenging part comes with the separation of the single piece of stone into two. Once achieved the sculpture is meticulously sanded to the smooth, high polish revealing the patterns within the stone.
The affects of water, ice and wind on stone have inspired Olley’s finishes, and he believes that “nature is a fine tutor for developing and finishing form.”
“One”, piemontite schist, 300mm diameter, $6500
Piemontite is an altered schist from Central Otago. It occurs in a band though the Wanaka/Queenstown Mountains. Being unique to this area it is rarely seen, and even more rarely seen worked. Once sediment under the sea, nearby submarine volcanic vents deposited manganese, giving it the purple colour. The sedimentary layers can be seen like pages in a book. Mica is the sparkling mineral seen from face of stone. Later it has been altered by intense pressure and heat from the tectonic plates colliding, Quartz has also come from melting rock, giving it the white marbling.
“One”, argillite, 350 x 150mm, $6500
Argillite stone is extremely hard, it has been used for tools, such as knives, adzes etc in this country for centuries and many museum pieces can be seen from this stone. It was a fine silt sediment beneath the sea, before being baked under pressure by the fault line of the southern alps, later though upheaval coming to the surface of the land, providing a strong hard semi crystalline rock, which when worked well, is very tactile.