Wanda Gillespie Brick Bay Sculpture Trail December 2020 - ongoing
The abacus has taken on new meaning for Gillespie in 2020 as a symbol of humanities value systems. In concern for the environment, she researched alternative economic systems that opposed the perpetual growth of capitalist modes. The circular or doughnut economic structures kept appearing and she has attempted to work these circular forms into the designs of her brass work. The abacus has been a re occurring theme in her work to date, and although in previous works it began as more of a mystical artefact (counting the immeasurable qualities of the spirit world), in the wake of Covid 19, her thoughts were drawn more to the economic systems we find ourselves inextricably a part of, their potential collapse and need for restructure as we re-think our direction for being an environmentally sustainable race with a social conscience. Economic growth is killing our planet and the real cost of things is not as straight forward as counting GDP. We need a new method for counting that includes the costs of environmental impacts. The exact origin of the first abacus or counting frame is still unknown however the earliest records of these were found in ancient Mesopotamia. They have been widely used in eastern Europe, Egypt, Persia and much of Asia. Within Gillespie's work, she often takes known objects and reinvents their purpose, often gifting them with more esoteric functions. She enjoys unifying the physical and spiritual worlds and pondering the artists role as artefact producer within a cyclical history of ever rising and falling civilisations. The curved rods in previous works were inspired by forms in landscape and contemplate natures perfection in mathematics and sacred geometry. Through the abacus, Gillespie reflects on the absurdity of humanity’s obsession with numbers, attempting to count that which can’t be counted becomes a poetic gesture.