Wanda Gillespie The 29th Annual Wallace Art Award 2020, Winner of the Jury Prize
Wallace Arts Trust, Pah Homestead, Auckland September 15 - November 15 2020
Pataka Museum, Wellington 6 December - 28 February 2021
The portrait and figurative sculpture have been a theme in my work for some time as I work with its narrative potential. I often create installations where my figures or portraits can interact with each other or have them interact with or contemplate another object. At times there is a game like/ constellation reflected in their installation formations.
For as long as there has been sculpture, humans have tried to reproduce themselves in sculptural form. I find this desire to reproduce ourselves fascinating, and am particularly curious about the forms these have taken over time throughout the world. In this piece I see the head of a boy on the table with his gaze focused on the abacus. My thoughts are around the future world we are leaving our children, and the desperate need for change in our current systems to reduce the impending environmental disaster. The boys head could be seen as decapitated, as though I am saying we (the current adult generations) are killing our children’s future through our short-sighted actions. The portrait however is not quite that gruesome. In fact there is even slight smile on the mouth of the boy. Perhaps it is a fragment image of future beings.
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 my work I often take known objects and reinvent their purpose, often gifting them with more esoteric functions. I enjoy 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.