During the run of The Armory Show, the Oakes Twins will make a drawing of the Armory Show from a platform in the Feldman Gallery booth.
The brothers, who have been engaged in a deep colloquy on the nature of bifocal vision since toddlerhood, have recently developed one of the most intriguing breakthroughs in the depiction of physical reality since the Renaissance: They have come up with a method for tracing camera-obscura-exact renderings of the world before them onto a concave sheet of paper with no other optical equipment (no lenses, no pinholes) except their own unaided eyes.
Lawrence Weschler, The New York Times, 2014
For its booth at The Armory Show, Ronald Feldman Gallery will exhibit drawings and sculptures by the Oakes Twins (Trevor and Ryan Oakes), identical twins and collaborating artists who explore the intersection of art and perception.
The installation features a series of panoramic concave drawings of real spaces, whose shape and process of construction are based on the artists’ lifelong investigations related to bifocal visual perception. For their working process, the artists have invented a semispherical easel with a device steadying the head (and thereby the eye). This apparatus allows them to very accurately plot the world before them onto a curved surface, completely freehand and by eye alone. Instead of having the art viewer gazing into the world as if through a flat window, as posited during the Renaissance, with these drawings the viewer experiences the world as if they were at the center of a giant perceptual sphere. The drawings are often completed in public spaces, adding a performative element to their modus operandi.
The intricate drawings capture a sense of place. Frequently taking several months to complete, the works range from black and white renderings of learned institutions to saturated colors that evoke the beauty of nature, the seasons, and the weather. For some of the drawings, mesmerizing patterns related to the optical noise present within human vision complicate the composition. Featured is Flatiron Building (After Steichen) (2014), which garnered substantial press coverage at the time of its public creation. Small sculptures are also on view: Matchstick Dome (2002), inspired by the artists’ fascination with center-point oriented systems and a small wire sculpture that references the properties of light and sight.
Trevor and Ryan Oakes’ art is in numerous permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; The Field Museum, Chicago; and the New York Public Library, New York City. Their public art works have been exhibited in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. They exhibit and lecture internationally, and their artistic residencies include the Drawing Center, New York and Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy. Their solo exhibitions include the National Museum of Mathematics, New York; the North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota; and The Field Museum, Chicago. The Oakes Twins graduated from Cooper Union in 2004 and live and work in New York City.
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