Discovering Art That Inspires

The Beautiful and the Ugly – Discovering the Duality in Life: Anna Gillespie

Can one be both strong and vulnerable? Can the Beautiful coexist with the Ugly? Sculptor Anna Gillespie discovers the duality and opposites in life through art.

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Anna Gillespie was born in Surrey in 1964. She studied Philosophy, Politics, Economics at Wadham College, Oxford and then International Relations at the London School of Economics. In 1988 Anna returned to sculpture, taking a City and Guilds in Stone Masonry and Carving in Bath before going to the Centro d'Arte, Verrocchio, Italy to work as studio assistant to sculptor, Nigel Konstam.

Over the last 25 years Anna Gillespie has attempted through her work to recapture a feeling of immersion in nature, often employing beech nuts, acorn cups, twigs, galls - with these natural found objects then cast into bronze. The act of gathering each autumn the artist considered a meditation; on the beauty of nature and our human place within it. She describes it as humbling, viscerally realising the way in which we humans are just another mass product of nature – all fundamentally the same and yet no two alike. 

Recent visits to Africa and America have somewhat shifted her focus on to the way in which humans are influenced by the man-made environment and to the way in which we interact with the planet as a species. Whereas most work using organic materials depicted solitary figures, often in a meditative or perhaps even spiritual stance, the new work favours groups, walking or standing. Whilst it may appear to draw on current events, Gillespie is also seeking to draw a parallel with the historical experience of people and their movements across the surface of the Earth through the ages. 

In her organic work the individual was subsumed by the experience of melding with nature and in simply being another beautiful product of it. Her new sculpture deals with the question of what it takes to recognise an individual as an individual, both in terms of being part of a mass of humanity and in the face of passing time.


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