New York based artists, Ryan and Trevor Oakes, recently exhibited a body of drawings and sculptures that collectively illustrate a modern approach to a timeless challenge. Breaking process down to a physical and almost scientific level, the twins produce mechanically assisted drawings that capture an accurate spatial perspective as it appears to the human eye. Exhibited alongside the drawings was their means of production, “a customized, curved easel and attached, rotatable head rest,” as quoted from the exhibition’s press release. By using this tool, the artists could harness a split-image vision that allowed them to render the most complicated cityscapes on curved canvases that mimic the shape of the eye. Their appropriately titled Concave Easel meshes the arts and sciences into a set of remarkably realistic spatial drawings. Before one might undermine the truth of these drawings as an art form, it is important to note that even Van Gogh was known to rely on similar inventions such as a perspectival frame.
The exhibition space itself failed to justly present the twin’s inventive exploration of perspective. The twin’s work was presented as a mere set of drawings and lacked any complementary material that might have sparked a more serious discussion. Communication between the viewer and artistry was nonexistent, and it was evident that several gallery-goers were unimpressed. Had there been a more effective dialogue between audience and artist, perhaps highlighting the innovation of timeless perspectival conventions and the scientific backbone behind the work, the exhibition would stand as strong as the series of drawings that is housed within.