Digital fabrication processes open an imaginative space in which the full potential of digital design techniques can move from the screen into a physical state with mass, materiality, and presence. The creative space where the actual and the virtual meet is a relentlessly changing landscape in which artists must hybridize processes not seen before with techniques that have remained unchanged for millennia. The artwork exhibited in Digital Hand takes us to this meeting place where questions are raised, ideas floated, and the imagination let loose.
On exhibition are works created by students participating in a course exploring the sculptural possibilities of digital fabrication taught by Tom Lauerman, Assistant Professor of Art, Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA). Participants in the course represent a diverse mix of art and design disciplines including sculpture, painting, architecture, new media, ceramics, and photography. The group ranges in age and experience from first year freshmen to graduating MFA students. Works in the show might begin or end with digital processes, but more often move back and forth, onscreen and off, developing a layered complexity. Hand drawing informs 3D modeling and scanning before a myriad of fabrication tools "amplify" what's onscreen. Data is then translated into form via 3D printing, laser cutting, pen plotting, and CNC milling. In many projects the materials resulting from this process then return to the studio to be embedded into the familiar patterns and textures of studio work.