Telling Stories with a Paintbrush


Rackstraw Downes, "Farm Buildings Near the Rio Grande: Under the Barn Roof, A.M.", 2008, oil on canvas, 24 x 90 1/4 in. Courtesy the Artist and Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York.

Bill Morris writing for Artes Magazine on line captures the powerful draw Rackstraw Downes’s work has had on visitors to the Weatherspoon Art Museum this summer.

Downes wants to capture the raw data of the seen world – not the “corrected” version after our brains have processed what comes through our eyes. “I want to paint exactly the way something is,” he has said. And so his horizons bend, his bridges curve, his power lines wiggle, his skyscrapers tilt. The effect is ravishing, visually and intellectually. You feel like a tourist seeing, truly seeing, the everyday aspects of life for the first time.

Rackstraw Downes: On Site Paintings, 1972-2008 continues through August 21, 2011 at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

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