Are you ready for a winter getaway? Come down the rabbit hole and experience Bill Oakes’ otherworldly wonderlands, subterranean vistas, organic jungle habitats, microscopic imaginings and other spectacular views that will make your imagination soar.
Bill Oakes, Cynosure
[Printer's Ink on Paper]
About the Exhibit:
Bill Oakes was a loved and celebrated artist, illustrator, art educator, inventor, children's book author, publisher, and community activist. He held a Master's Degree in Critical and Creative Thinking from the University of Massachusetts in Boston where he taught several creativity workshops. Earlier in his career, he was an art instructor at the New England School of Art & Design and at the Art Institute in Boston. He has been listed in Who's Who in Art in America, since 1980.
Oakes did numerous illustrations for The Franklin Library, "Time Magazine," "National Geographic," "Reader's Digest," "American Magazine," "Yankee Magazine," The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, ABC News and CBS News. He was a courtroom artist for the historic Watergate hearings. He illustrated numerous books, magazines, and a record album as well as his own art instruction manuals and children's books. The Ford Foundation and the Franklin Mint in New York City include Oakes' art in their collections. He has one of the largest portfolios of documentary art housed in The Navy Art Collection in Washington, D.C.
During a painting excursion to Mexico in 1990 Oakes planned on doing more documentary style depictions of the people and landscapes, but he got so excited by the light, textures, colors, peeling posters, rusting cars, etc. that he found himself doing non-objective paintings. He felt these came from what he called "the intuitive side of thought." His abstract paintings reverberate with the message to see beauty in the unexpected and often overlooked -- to see in new ways.
Bill Oakes always had a love of adventure both in this world and in thinking about other worlds. One night, with a flashlight in hand, he was out among pieces of steel he was going to use for sculptures. He got excited about one piece in particular; when the flashlight moved across the steel, it looked like a moonscape. He was inspired to begin a 5-year exploration of paintings and constructions depicting imaginary planetary surfaces.
From these paintings Oakes put together a multi-media exhibit, "Life Signs: Other Worlds, Other Voices." Many of the paintings had individualized and correlated sound environments. Using infrared technology and cordless headsets viewers were transported on a trip through the universe. Hovering above fascinating aerial views of imaginary civilizations, they saw and heard hints of life on other planets. This exhibit was on display at the Museum of Science in Boston during a Cyber Arts Festival.
Following this group of paintings, Oakes conceived of his "Fauxtography" series - imagining what it would look like if you landed on some of these otherworldly planets. They achieved a photographic quality as he created them using printer's ink.
He also got much joy and inspiration experimenting with digital photography. Bill Oakes was prolific. He produced hundreds of paintings, sketches and photographs.
Another of Bill Oakes' ongoing, great passions was nurturing creativity and inquisitiveness in children and adults. He did this through his own great enthusiasm for life, through his art and books, and by conducting numerous workshops and art classes.
Bill Oakes passed on in October 2005. We trust he's doing and seeing glorious things elsewhere.
"Using art and visual thinking as creative problem-solving tools my artistic methodology is designed to stimulate myself and others to push beyond preconceived self-limitations and to rely on our innermost being to be flexible, spontaneous, and willing to be open to new ways of thinking and seeing. My non-representational paintings come, I believe, from the intuitive side of thought. My goal when doing these works is to nurture creativity, intuitiveness and flexibility of thought.... It is my vision that visual art is a major subject in learning. Art and creativity have always been perceived as having a synonymous relationship but have received little acknowledgement from educators promoting thinking skills. Critical and creative thinking are part of the same sphere of thought and they need to be fostered together as a unifying process. Art must include philosophical and metaphorical thinking. As an artist and educator my aim has always been to be a facilitator of discovery." (Bill Oakes)
Bill Oakes, Biome
[Printer's Ink on Paper]