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New York
Rd12282
Rackstraw Downes
Betty Cuningham Gallery
541 W. 25th St., New York, NY 10001
January 24, 2008 - March 1, 2008


A Look at Rackstraw Downes
by Keith Miller


Looking. The active tense, the gerund, seems to be the central activity for the English painter Rackstraw Downes. For the past three decades his paintings have taken the simple visual act and transformed it into something disquieting. The tenacity of his vision is exceptional but his signature gesture is even more so due to its simplicity. His paintings, one 15 inches tall and twelve feet wide, show a simultaneously naturalistic and extremely wide point of view.  While following the rules of perspective laid down over 500 years ago, to show such extreme width, Downes breaks a central tenet of Alberti’s system: he turns his head. With this shift the normally straight lines curve in a manner that feels both unsettling and resoundingly true. He is one of the few representational painters that seems to still be able to impress even those medium-phobic anti-painting types. And all that with the simple act of looking.



- Keith Miller


(*Images, from top to bottom: 
Rackstraw Downes, Rackstraw Downes, January 24 - March 1, 2008; Betty Cuningham Gallery, A Stop on the J Line (Alabama Avenue), 2007, oil on canvas, 11 x 18 5/8 in, Copyright Rackstraw Downes, Courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York.  Rackstraw Downes, Rackstraw Downes, January 24 - March 1, 2008; Betty Cuningham Gallery, The Pulaski Skyway Crossing the Hackensack River, 2007, oil on canvas, 24 x 66 1/2 in, Copyright Rackstraw Downes, Courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York.)    


Posted by Keith Miller on 1/27/08

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Placeholder70x70-2 A STOP ON THE J LINE ALABAMA AVENUE
DEAR ARTSLANT: Absolutely perfect. amazingly so. but i can see where passengers can climb the stairs for the train back to the city, where is the station going further into brooklyn? and how much is this painting.
Placeholder70x70-2 A STOP ON THE J LINE ALABAMA AVENUE
DEAR ARTSLANT: Absolutely perfect. amazingly so. but i can see where passengers can climb the stairs for the train back to the city, where is the station going further into brooklyn? and how much is this painting.





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