The Reckoning - Wanda Gillespie
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The Reckoning - Wanda Gillespie

16 February - 1 April 2024

Embark on a contemplative journey through "The Reckoning," where Wanda Gillespie's transcendent sculptures invite us to ponder the profound depths of our epoch. Gillespie skillfully transforms the traditional abacus into a thought-provoking vehicle, delving into the intricate realms of value, systems, economics, and spirituality. Each piece serves as a compelling call for the re-evaluation and restructuring of our perception of worth, while also unraveling the intertwined environmental repercussions of our endeavors.

The repetition of simplified landscape forms within the intricate designs of her pieces draw the
viewer back to the environment and in turn the divine mathematics in nature. Notable among these is the Karakare waterfall abacus, a testament to Gillespie's artistic exploration during a residency on the west coast. Other abaci seamlessly incorporate the hourglass motif into their internal designs, prompting a reflection on the urgency of our generation to account for our actions and exploring the malleable nature of time—underscored by the elastic experiences many endured during the Covid era.

Amidst the abaci, a portrait of a young woman oversees the exhibit, her gaze imbued with a sense of understanding as if she orchestrates the unfolding narrative. A lone figure, carved from Kahikatea during the Waiheke residency, appears to engage in protest or religious procession, navigating through low-level water—a poignant reference to the heavy rain and flooding of 2023. Part of the "Crossing the Rubicon" series, this figure reimagines our transient era as a crossing of muddy waters toward a new time of hope, contemplating rising sea levels and their impact on Pacific islands like Waiheke.

Adding a mythical dimension to the exhibition, a wood-carved "Boy with Wings" emerges, crafted from native punga and adorned with a kauri cone amulet. This ethereal creation contributes a sense of wonder to the overarching narrative.
Parallel to the abaci, Gillespie recreates the counting tablet from ancient civilizations in the form of a female Kauri cone. A poignant nod to Waiheke's history of Kauri trade and the prevailing threat of Kauri dieback, the sculptural form, with its terraced structure reminiscent of the pink and white terraces, urges us to safeguard our dear Kauri from meeting a fate similar to that of the lost wonder.

In a captivating addition to the exhibition, Gillespie's chip carved Klein bottle sculpture seeks to extract a mathematical concept from the realm of pure ideas and breathe life into it through a three dimensional form. Her approach involves employing chip carving patterns primarily composed of interlocking triangles, evoking her enduring wonder at the intrinsic mathematical perfection woven into the fabric of nature.

Hidden within the meticulous placement of abacus beads are secret notations and messages,
weaving a subtle yet profound thread that ties back to the overarching theme of our epoch of
reckoning. "The Reckoning" beckons us to engage in introspection and contemplation, offering a harmonious convergence of art, history, and environmental consciousness.


Generously supported by the 

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Wanda Gillespie Boy with Wings Cropped

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