Rewarewa timber, Jelutong chip carved stand, coconut beads, wooden beads, brass, wax finish Various sizes 2020/2021 First image commissioned for NGV design week 2021 exhibition 'Future Inheritance - 20 Speculative Objects for a Time to Come', curated by Marsha Golemac.
These beguiling abacus sculptures by Auckland -based artist, wood carver and mystical archeologist Wanda Gillespie, offer themselves as implements for calculating the unquantifiable. When she first began making these frames the artist saw them as ‘higher consciousness calculators’, tools for recording the esoteric value of the spiritual realm. However, the mass-disruption of the global pandemic and the attendant widespread reset of values it prompted have led her to see them instead as functional computers for future economies.
The Counting Frames are made from native New Zealand Rewarewa wood recycled from timber floorboards of a demolished Auckland Council Building. The forms of these counting frames are drawn from a wide range of sources; Molecular structures that have overcome the chaotic entropy of the universe, principles of sacred geometry, and the abstracted headlands and waterfalls that repeat in the landscape painting of Colin McCahon. These sources conceptually embed optimistic notions of balance and stability into Gillespie’s sculptural objects. In the future economic systems that they are created to serve forests, mangroves, reefs, and rivers have real economic values and anything that impacts the futures of these vital places has accountable costs.
Written by Tulleah Pearce for the exhibition An Alternative Economics at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane in 2022.
‘I believe in the power of an object’ writes artist Wanda Gillespie. She is drawn to animism in a theoretical sense; inanimate objects possess a soul. Gillespie approaches her artmaking by attempting to reveal the energy, both luminous and numinous, within the material (at hand) through transfiguration. In Gillespie’s Higher Thought Forms, the abacus works channel other and different dimensions as though ‘liberated’ from a numeric function. Imbued with sacred geometry, they are suggestive of abstract mathematical reasoning and open systems theories. Through these works Gillespie has proposed a tool for calculating access to realms beyond our consciousness.