Line of Sight features the Oakes twins’ obsessively handmade sculptures, experimental drawings and large-scale paintings, including selections from their critically acclaimed series Concave Drawings and Synchronized Field Paintings. The Oakes’ artworks reveal an intense focus and meditative approach, as each seemingly disparate body of work has in common the theory that by following consistent local rules complex global structures emerge.
The Twins drawing method has been described, by no less an authority than Columbia University’s perceptual historian Jonathan Crary, as one of the most original breakthroughs in the rendering of visual space since the Renaissance.
Weschler is currently the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and former staff writer for The New Yorker. He has authored such books as Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Vermeer in Bosnia, and Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin.
Lawrence Weschler will lead a discussion with twin brothers and artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes.
Falco, working in collaboration with artist David Hockney, is a pioneer in applying optical science analyses to understand how some Renaissance artists may have used optical devices as aids in their painting. Falco is Professor of Optical Sciences and Chair of Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Arizona. He has published more than 250 scientific manuscripts, co-edited two books and registered seven U.S. patents.
The Science of Art symposium is supported by David Rognlie and Fern Letnes, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Alarmingly, this radically new approach to capturing visual consciousness has just been uncovered in the 21st century. Given that humans are born with the tools needed, why didn’t this discovery predate western optical studies dating back to before the Renaissance?
The Oakes brothers present an account of how they arrived at a new drawing method based on the principles above. Their talk will illuminate fundamental perceptual truths regarding the spherical nature of human vision, will re-examine the canon of western perspective, and will introduce the most naturalistic mode of drawing visual space to date.
“Art is the playground of the physical world. Light is the medium of all visual art. Any piece of visual material—art, nature, literature—that might spark awe in the mind will come through the gates of the eyes.” —The Oakes Twins
Curator: Emily Berçir Zimmerman
December 6 – 24, 2011
Daily, 10:00-4:00 p.m.
Central Garden (under the bougainvillea umbrellas)
Drop by as twin artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes create a perspective drawing from the Getty Museum and gardens using an innovative concave easel, invented as part of their ongoing exploration of human vision and the experience of space and depth.
This is a free, drop-in program.
CUE Art Foundation
511 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
Sept 10th – Oct 29th, 2011
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday
Throughout the month of June 2011, Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance and the home of Filippo Brunelleschi, the father of perspective, have hosted the twins Trevor and Ryan Oakes, two brilliant young American artists (they are 26 years old) who have followed similar lines of inquiry as the Florentine architect, and developed through continuous research and experimentation on human vision and perception of visual space, a new art form that explores the act of looking, in particular the use of both eyes simultaneously, and the interpretation of the three-dimensionality. During their stay in Florence Trevor and Ryan Oakes have explored the city and identify buildings, landscapes and views that could be a source of inspiration for their work. Palazzo Strozzi, its courtyard and its people, has been one of the places where they have further developed their revolutionary drawing technique.
April 24, 2010
Ryan + Trevor Oakes
Guitar Boy (Nancy Agabian and Ann Perich)
Weschler will present an ostentatiously interdisciplinary cavalcade of artists, performers, and scientists, who, by way of music, film and Powerpoint, will celebrate the odd, the marvelous, and the drop-jawed amazing.
“One of the things I’ve long been interested in is the notion of returning to a time when the sciences were at the heart of the humanities, when there was a marvelous, polymorphous, promiscuous interaction between scientists, artists, wizards and inventors,” says Weschler. “The division between arts and sciences is only 300 years old at most. Before that, people like Michelangelo and Leonardo were as much scientists as artists. There was no distinction between the different interests they were pursuing.”
“With the rise of the Internet and social media we may be returning to an era in which scientists and artists, historians and digital innovators have all kinds of things to say to each other,” he says. “The Wonder Cabinet aims to facilitate that conversation.”
Hundreds of people filled Occidental’s Thorne Hall April 24 to explore the kinetic qualities of paper, how planetary orbits relate to the music of the spheres, why pickpockets and horned ladies were 18th century celebrities, and the role the nose plays in shaping visual perception at Lawrence Weschler’s day-long Wonder Cabinet.
CHICAGO – The City of Chicago is proud to host new artwork, an extended drawing of Anish Kapoor’s landmark sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Created by identical twin artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes, the piece, entitled “Have No Narrow Perspective,” was originally installed in Millennium Park in May. It is now on display at O’Hare International Airport, in Terminal 2 just past security, north of the current Explore Chicago exhibit.
The Oakes twins have collaborated on various visual explorations since the age of three. Now in their 20’s, they have developed a remarkable new method for tracing the world before them onto a curved surface, completely freehand and by eye alone. This method has been described by Columbia University’s perceptual historian Jonathan Crary as one of the most original breakthroughs in the rendering of visual space since the Renaissance.
Last summer the Oakes twins utilized that concave drawing method on the Cloud Gate sculpture and produced an enlarged version, engraved onto a six-by-six foot metal armature, with the explanation of their technique inscribed in the base.
“We are pleased to host this sculpture as the latest addition to our art and exhibits program,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino. “Thanks to our collaborative work with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, we can fulfill Mayor Daley’s vision to introduce Chicago’s rich, diverse and expansive culture to visitors from around the world.”
Having collaborated on various visual explorations since the age of three, identical twin artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes (now in their late twenties) have developed a remarkable new method for tracing the world before them onto a curved surface, completely freehand and by eye alone. This method has been described, by no less an authority than Columbia University’s perceptual historian Jonathan Crary, as one of the most original breakthroughs in the rendering of visual space since the Renaissance. Last summer the Oakes Brothers were prominently seen deploying that method across an extended drawing of Anish Kapoor’s landmark sculpture Cloud Gate. They subsequently took that concave drawing and produced an enlarged version, engraved onto a six-by-six foot metal armature, which they are currently displaying right there along side “the Bean” in Millennium Park.
On Thursday May 14th, from 5 – 8pm, Millennium Park, and the Department of Cultural Affairs in association with the Chicago Humanities Festival (which originally occasioned the Twin’s presence in Chicago, along with the Spertus Institute), will host the Oakes Twins as they officially present their first public sculpture on site there by the Bean. They will be joined, among others, by Lawrence Weschler, the artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival, whose essay about the Twins and their method is featured in the current issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review
This sculpture is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)
December 21 – March 29, 2009
See artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes in action at The Field! The Oakes brothers have devised a radically new way of drawing that allows the artist to “trace” reality. Their discoveries have been called “some of the most original breakthroughs in the rendering of visual space since the Renaissance.”
The Oakes brothers will be on-site to create an intricate drawing of Stanley Field Hall, the Museum’s great main hall. Learn about their revolutionary techniques in recording human optical perception, and watch their artwork take shape.
Artists and twin brothers Ryan and Trevor Oakes created this view of Stanley Field Hall using a revolutionary drawing technique they invented together.
Their technique relies on human vision being formed by two eyes merging two images in the brain. Using a special easel with a concave surface, plus a headset to keep the artist’s head exactly in place, Trevor Oakes simultaneously viewed the paper in the foreground with one eye and the hall in the background with the other. This action formed a “ghost image” of the hall over the paper. The hall was then traced onto strips of paper inside the easel resulting in the drawing you see now.
To see a large sculpture based on a drawing the Oakes brothers created in Chicago’s Millennium Park, visit terminal 2 of O’Hare Airport.
Surely one of the singular achievements of Renaissance and post-Renaissance Western art and technology was the conquest, articulation, and deployment of notions of visual perspective. How has perspective continued to evolve?
Panelists Jonathan Crary, Ryan Oakes, and Trevor Oakes discuss the idea of perspective and the multiple ways of viewing the physical world. They explain perspective in artworks, both recent and historical, as well as a new way of drawing. Lawrence Weschler moderates.
In conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival, Spertus hosted an exhibition by New York-based artists and identical twins Trevor and Ryan Oakes, who invented a method to render, by hand, an accurate camera-obscura style tracing of the world onto a curved surface. The exhibition highlighted drawings, made this summer for this project, of Chicago points of interest. These included the award-winning new Spertus building, Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (pictured right) and the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, vistas of the Chicago River, historic Michigan Avenue architecture, and more.
Double Vision was displayed in the Spertus Museum during the Chicago Humanities Festival and was the exclusive showcase for not only the Chicago drawings but also a series of early sculptures about light and vision that lead up to the conception of this revolutionary idea.
Ryan and Trevor Oakes graduated from The Cooper Union School of Art in 2004. Their work is characterized by an in-depth investigation of light, vision, and the interplay between the visual cortex and the human retina.
It is hard to believe there is anything new to be discovered about perspective drawing. But in 2004 twin artists Trevor and Ryan Oakes made a startling discovery about how to render perspectival images on the inner surface on a sphere. Their discovery is all the more intriguing in the light of recent controversy surrounding David Hockney’s thesis about the use of spherical lenses in the making of perspective drawings in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In their first public talk the Oakes will discuss their perspectival research and demonstrate their unique spherical rendering technique using a specially designed stand and an innovative concept of “concave paper”. The lecture will include an historical account of other optical tools used to depict three-dimensional space – including the concave mirror-lens, the camera obscura, and the camera lucida. These prior techniques all involved optical equipment that in some sense controlled or bent the flow of light; the Oakes’ method uses only pen and paper – but here it is the paper rather than the light that is bent.
Trevor and Ryan Oakes are visual artists in New York City. Their work is characterized by an in-depth investigation of light, vision, and the interplay between the visual cortex and the human retina . Ryan and Trevor graduated from The Cooper Union School of Art in 2004.