The Inspiration Of Alchemy

Rebecca Varidel
5th Oct 2017

alchemy (def): the medieval forerunner of chemistry, concerned with the transmutation of matter, in particular with attempts to convert base metals into gold or find a universal elixir.

Alchemy is the inspiration for the work of artist Nick Dorey. Through the process of chemical or symbolic transformation of found objects, Dorey creates large scale installations. And in 2019 he's off to a residency in an underground silver galena mine once owned by John Dee, the court alchemist of Queen Victoria.

Nick Dorey is the latest recipient of the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Travel Scholarship from Sydney College of the Arts. The $28,000 art prize was announced at the University of Sydney’s contemporary art school during the opening of the Fauvette Loureiro Finalists Exhibition at the SCA Galleries last night.

"I'm overwhelmed really, this makes projects which are completely outside my regular capabilities doable. I have twins on the way and it looks like they will get to start their life with a bit of an adventure. It’s really important to me to integrate family and practice and this makes it possible," Nick Dorey said.

Professor Margaret Harris, chair of the judging panel and Acting Director of Sydney College of the Arts, said ‘We chose Nick Dorey as the winner from an exceptionally strong field that encompassed quite different kinds of art practice. Nick’s towering piece is at once seductive and repulsive. It challenges and rewards the attentive viewer in every one of its intricate details.’

Nick plans to use the scholarship to undertake two overseas trips and three distinct artist endeavours.

The first, will be a one month artist residency at Taliesin West in Western Arizona, at Frank Lloyd Wright's former winter studio. This will be used as the starting point for a series of visits in the southwest of the United States investigating and researching land art sites with a particular focus on locating and exploring the remains of destroyed or heavily degraded western American land art by the likes of Walter De Maria and Michael Heizer.

In 2019, Nick will commence a residency at Combre Martin silver galena mine in North Devon. In the same year his plans will conclude with a residency in Scotland focusing on symbolic representations of distillation as an act of spiritual purification.

The contemporary work of Nick and the four other shortlisted artists Consuelo Cavaniglia, Richard Kean, Kate Scardifield, Salote Tawale are on display in the 2017 Fauvette Loureiro Finalists exhibition until October 28.

What: FAUVETTE 2017

When: October 5 to 28

Where: SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, Kirkbride Way, Lilyfield (enter via Balmain Road, opposite Cecily Street)

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 5pm, Sat 11am - 4pm

Image: Nick Dorey in front of the winning work Duet // Conjunction II // Islands in the Stream