Tony O’Grady has been sculpting and painting for over 25 years. He works in stone, wood, clay, concrete and most recently he has been making waxes for bronze casting. He loves the physicality of sculptural practice, especially carving.
Primarily O’Grady creates figurative works though he has also produced a number of abstract sculptures. Early on, he was inspired and influenced by sculptors Brancusi, Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi.
He has accepted private commissions over the years and exhibited variously in solo and group shows locally, including at C.S.A. (as it was then); Port Gallery, Lyttelton; The Arts Centre, Salamander and Bealey Gallery, in Christchurch; Little River Gallery; Two Rivers Gallery, Cheviot and Chambers Gallery, Rangiora.
Public works include a commission from Christchurch City Council of a wooden sculpture gifted to a sister city in Japan; a stone work for Applied Art NZ, and a piece for Ilam Medical Centre in Christchurch. O’Grady has also tutored in stone carving.
“For me the human figure has always been a fascinating subject through which I can explore sculptural ideas of mass, weight and balance, and positive and negative space. Then, on a personal and spiritual level, to work out my vision and impress on the viewer something new and vital.
I always strive to create powerful works, monumental in feeling, that stand the test of time and of the critic. Hopefully my works reveal something unique, individual and even uplifting.
Carving timber, opening up stone with hammer and chisel, you become familiar in the knowledge of the material, its geology, its growth, its inherent attributes. With this comes knowledge of the land you live in, Aotearoa / New Zealand: its geography, the landscape and its peoples. And to draw upon a history of New Zealand (and whole world history) of sculpture is all influential and vital in placing my work in a New Zealand context.”