Lucy Hardcastle is recent graduate who has been successfully exhibiting her work over the past couple of years. She began her studies with textile design, shifting more into the digital space with her Masters work. Surface and texture are still very much central to her work, so her textile background provides a solid structure upon which she builds her expanded practice. Hardcastle dabbles in several mediums: sculpture, video, 3D imagery, spacial installations. She creates objects that, when turned into photographs, make it difficult to guess their origins. Did they come from pixels and 3D rendering programmes, or are they physical objects made with the digital aesthetic in mind? In some cases Hardcastle engages both approaches, questioning what an object means in these times, when the analogue world becomes enmeshed with data.
For example, Phygital Objects, exhibited at Milan Design Week 2016, include a selection of richly pigmented, tactile simple shapes turned into sculptural assemblages. Shiny, sleek glass and fuzzy, velvety, foam-like structures are thrown together in tangled compositions. I can almost feel the sensations of fondling these objects by just looking at their photographs. A digitally rendered image echoes their forms, suspended in liminal space. The reaction to this image is no less visceral, but it recalls totally different associations. Slippery iPhones, gaming dreamworlds, permeable plasma surfaces from science fiction films. The comparison of the two makes us consider what makes the physical physical, and the digital digital. How do these different modes of being influence our relationships to the world around us? What does surface mean today?
Lucy Hardcastle’s practice is also interesting in the way she manages to elegantly adapt her work to art, design and commercial contexts. Check out her video commissions here.