Wanda Gillespie: Counting frames for a transient era

Wanda Gillespie is an Auckland-based artist working with wood to create bespoke abaci. Her contemporary interpretations of this ancient counting instrument explore and expand upon the creation of value, systems of measurement, and encounters between material and mystical worlds.

Counting frames for a transient era reflects on timelessness as a term of value, relating this to the distortion of time during the pandemic and the ngahere surrounding Karekare where Gillespie completed a residency in 2021. It contrasts a view of time as measurable and linear – using forms like the hourglass within the inner structure of the abaci – with the deep time of growth and evolution, of which its materials bear traces.

Presented in the Te Uru window space alongside Titirangi’s main thoroughfare, Gillespie’s work offers a moment of pause amid the flow of traffic. As life otherwise resumes its old, rushed rhythms, it acts as an invitation to look beyond the present moment and its immediate desires, toward a larger system of beings and cycles in which we are immersed.

Wanda Gillespie is an Australian/New Zealand contemporary artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her sculptural works and performative actions seek transcendence through the reimagining of known forms. A belief in the spiritual potency of physical objects drives her work, which looks to unlock the energetic qualities of materials through traditional craft techniques.

Recent projects include Counting Frame for Circular Economies (Sculpture on the Gulf, 2022); Counting Frame for Alternative Economic Structures (Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, 2020); Higher Thinking (Vivian Gallery, 2019); Higher Thought Forms (Sanderson Contemporary, 2019). In addition to the Karekare  House Artist Residency, Gillespie has completed residencies in Indonesia through Asialink and Arts Victoria and at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France, through the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

28 May - 15 August 2022

Photos by Sam Hartnett


Artist website

Profile in VIVA magazine

Counting Frames at Brick Bay

Abacus Loop (Video)

Abacus (Video)

An Alternative Economics at IMA