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.


I was (Was) bounced to this site by my opening what I thought was the Kenyon College commenment speech by David Foster Wallace. Actually I was chided by someone when I fwd'd the link for them to become as inspired as I was when I read it. Basically I looked like a dick sending your message.

Such arrogance, to deny access to this after all of this time being avail. just to promte the book. I am sure while David may have found your ploy amusing (even at his expense and your horrific use of his luck phrase [therein lies your sociopathic arrogance] he would nonetheless find your capitalistic hue crass at best.

I'm sure you won't visit again, but for anyone else looking to berate me: I received a very nice letter from some very nice lawyers and I had to remove the speech.

Hi Bill,

I'm posting here because I can't find any contact information for you. I recently googled "David Foster Wallace Kenyon Commencement" and was directed, as I have been before, to your copy of it. To my dismay, however, I discovered that I am now advised to "enjoy the book." I understand that the book is coming out, but why isn't it online anymore? It had been up for, I guess, about 42 months and it is still in google's cache, and there is now a copy of it on my hard drive as there are I'm sure on many others. Why did you take it down? What's going on with the revenue from the book? Is it even obvious (or true) that the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust holds the copyright to the address (and not just the book)? What is the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust, anyway? (And I don't see anywhere in the book an acknowledgement of "duffymoon" who apparently did the work of transcription.)

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This page contains a single entry by was published on April 1, 2009 11:25 PM.

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


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