Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beer with a Painter: Rackstraw Downes

Originally published on Hyperallergic Weekend Edition, October 14, 2012

Rackstraw Downes, “Sand Hills with Cell Tower, Presidio, TX, P.M.”(2010). Oil on canvas, 20 5/8 x 35 7/8 inches. (All Images Courtesy of the Artist. © Rackstraw Downes, Courtesy Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York)
Rackstraw Downes’s recent paintings are currently on view at Betty Cuningham Gallery. Born in 1939 in Kent, England, Downes now lives between New York City and Presidio, Texas. Well known for his panoramic landscapes, Downes works for months on site in both urban and rural surroundings. He is often described as a realist but this term is perhaps better applied to his subject matter than his technique. Through his sustained and intensive outdoor working process, his paintings empirically draw attention to the true nature of the 21st Century landscape. They are places we don’t necessarily linger, but are nevertheless our environments.