Nicola Rae (Socket)
Nicola's interest lies in the diversity and suggestiveness of objects and materials, both organic and manufactured. She selects and places particular materials with specific intention, in order to suggest strands of meaning and connection previously unconsidered and unrealised.
Her work for this exhibition explores the concept of genetic engineering and relates this to the medieval concept of alchemy. Medieval philosophers placed their hope in the transformative power of alchemy to turn base metals into gold, and to provide human beings with eternal youth.
Here, the alchemical symbol for gold has been used to draw attention to a new 'alchemy': our attempts to manipulate the genetic structure of living organisms. 'Golden rice' and 'golden corn' have been developed in an attempt to improve third world nutrition – but have proved controversial (Alchemy I and II.
The circular symbol, significant and universal, is further explored, using paint, in Alchemy III and IV.