April 2009 Archives

Weschler on Trevor and Ryan Oakes


Lawrence Weschler, who is pretty much my favorite writer of non-fiction at the moment, has an article in the latest issue of Virginia Quarterly Review. It examines the art of Ryan & Trevor Oakes, who are doing some really fascinating work with perspective. You should read it.

There were the conversations as well in which they began to take note of the curious way in which their noses severely narrowed the expanse of their depth of field. They became convinced that a person's nose, even though usually occluded by the operations of his visual cortex such that it tended to disappear from view, served to anchor the scene before him, though not in the way one might expect, as a beacon pointing the way ahead right down the middle of his visual field. Rather, it might be more accurate, in considering bifocal vision, to think of the nose as appearing doubled to either side of the visual field, as if it were bracketing or bookending the scene before us (blocking the right eye's leftmost view, and the left eye's rightmost). And this was a phenomenon, they came to feel, with implications not only for vision generally but for art-making in particular. One day Ryan was studying a recent suite of abstract paintings by Trevor and, never one to accept the arbitrary nature of anyone's mark, he took to focusing in particular on a seemingly recurrent triangular motif off in the lower corner of several of the paintings. "Wait a second, Trevor," he announced exultantly. "That's our nose!" Such shapes appeared not only in Trevor's paintings but in those of other students as well. And indeed, come to think of it, in those of all sorts of other, far more accomplished artists.

The Chicago Reader did a long piece on them last year; it also details how Weschler's relationship with them formed - he actually played a small but significant role in the development of their careers.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

This is marginalia.org, a weblog by Bill Stilwell. I take the occasional photo.


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