Oakes has a Masters Degree in Visual Arts from New York University and a Masters Degree in Social and Political Science from The New School for Social Research in New York. Oakes uses multi-disciplinary means such as painting, drawing, sculpture, video, performance and printmaking to support narrative imagery often with gender based or spiritual overtones. Swounds, her most recent exhibition at The Canadian Clay and Glass Museum in Canada, included an installation of porcelain, paintings and glass.
Oakes’ extensive exhibition history includes The Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, The Rivington Gallery, London, Curcio Projects, New York, Lehman Leskiw Fine Arts, Toronto, The Museum of Modern Art, Miami, Galerie Atelier III, Barmstaedt, \Germany, Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal, The Varley Art Gallery, Ontario, The Canadian Museum of Northern History, Ontario, The Canadian Clay and Glass Museum, Ontario, and Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto. Oakes works are in public collections such as The Glenbow Museum, The Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, The Mendel Gallery, The Varley Art Gallery, The Vernon Performing Arts Center, The AGSO, The Kenderdine Gallery, UBCO and The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.