Our vision seems perfect in many ways. Yet, our experience of the world is complicated by the simple fact that we have two eyes. Our brains turn all that we see into a composite image. While what we see is relatively uncomplicated, we are still immersed in a deeply spherical perceptual world wherein vision is a lot more intricate than we perceive.
Twin artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes explore this notion in their current Compounding Visions: The Artwork of Ryan and Trevor Oakes, which is featured at the National Museum of Mathematics.
Our visual perspective gives us the ability to see what we want to see, and blur all that we wish to fade out. We see films, television shows, computer monitors, and paintings through a flattened medium. Our perspective appears unbroken to us. As our attention is focused, images become coherent and we interpret without interruption.
For Compounding Visions, the twins have constructed a concave metal easel that allows them to steer away from the limitations of a flat canvas. The two sketch onto the easel by simply crossing their eyes and letting the objects float onto the edge of the canvas. The nuances of their works highlight just how striking this optical methodology is to the outsider's eye.
In “Have No Narrow Perspectives: the Bean” (2014), for instance, the twins provide viewers with an actual sense of the spaces between the buildings. It has a certain level of geometric truth. The feeling of gazing at and meditating on the astounding immensity of the skyscrapers registers throughout “Perspectives.” The edges of the canvas, which cave inward, enhance the sensation.
The Oakes twins have been fascinated by the visual experience for sometime. The two often recall that, as kids, they eyed the horizon while in a moving car. Their line of thinking, nowadays, still rests on vision and what that means for the artist. They inspire questions about not only seeing double, but also the representation of visual experience.
Compounding Visions: The Artwork of Ryan and Trevor Oakes through July 21National Museum of Mathematics
11 East 26th Street
Daily 7a.m. - 5 p.m.
General Admission $15
Our August issues are out! Read here.