Oreland Joe is an American sculptor of works in alabaster from southern Utah, marble, and limestone. He is largely self-taught. He spent six weeks in Italy where he was first introduced to sculpting in marble and how to use traditional hand tools.
During a sixth grade history project that Joe was introduced to sculpture. He created a clay-based figure of Confucius and learned that he enjoyed working the material with his hands. The same year, his school had an art show and Joe sold two paintings and made seven dollars that night.
He began selling his work at the Santa Fe Indian Market. From there, he moved to local, state and regional shows. Later, he began applying to juried art shows. At Settler’s West in Tucson, Joe met CAA member Howard Terpning. “I noticed that he took time to talk to this Indian he had never met before,” says Joe. At the same show, Joe met Carol Brown, wife of CAA member Harley Brown, who invited him to participate in a show. Little by little the invitations began coming, including the opportunity to join the Cowboy Artists of America in 1993.
He was included in an Ensign article featuring Latter-day Saint sculptors:
- Oreland’s favorite images are women and children together. This theme, in the hands of a less-talented and less-insightful artist, could easily become maudlin. But Oreland Joe’s work emits dignity and conveys great spiritual strength. Oreland’s works have an organic quality that comes from a very sensitive handling of native stone. The artist allows the stone to simplify the detail and help give even his small pieces a sense of monumentality. Faith and reverence characterize his work.
He is a Navajo/Ute from Shiprock, New Mexico. He is a fourth generation artist—his mother’s family have musical talent and his father’s are gifted in the visual arts. He lives in Kirtland, New Mexico, not far from where he was raised. He has expanded his art to include crafting traditional jewelry making and music.