Ryan and Trevor Oakes

Twins that make art together has a certain ring to it. Ryan and Trevor Oakes fit this bill.

While they have done a considerable amount of work, I occasioned upon their work on the excellent blog The Jealous Curator and the particular pieces featured were some of their early work with matchsticks. The two pieces that tickled my fancy in particular are the “Matchstock Dome” pair.

Matchstick Dome 1 Ryan & Trevor Oakes

Matchstick Dome 2 Ryan & Trevor Oakes

Not to be a pretentious artfuck about it, but I love how these pieces imply their own destruction. Well, not only imply, but beg it. Looking at these insanely time-consuming constructions my first desire is to throw a lit match at them, or even more satisfying, strike them across a piece of sandpaper. Those are strike-anywhere matches, I suspect. Here we have a couple of sculptures (assemblages?) that play on how art is shown as a perfect, inviolate object, while making you ache for their ignition. The audience touch/ don’t touch interplay is strong here, in no small part because you know that firing it up is in direct opposition to a) how much time it took los bros Oakes to glue the matches together, and b) how wonderfully they would flare up and burn to ash.

I also find it interesting in a constructive sense – the variance between matchhead and matchstick is quite small, and I can imagine building a ring of matches but expanding that to a spherical form based on the squared-off matchsticks is quite impressive on a strictly “putting things together in a pleasing way” sense. I enjoy this piece formally and as a simple object that forces me to acknowledge my desire to destroy art for the very reasons I respect it.

Well done, Oakes brothers, well done.