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Texas HillsRackstraw Downes
Filmed in late 2010, artist Rackstraw Downes discusses his interest in painting altered landscapes, such as the sand hills overlooking Presidio, Texas where ATV tire tracks cover the ground and a cell tower rises in the distance.
While packing up his oil paints and easel after a day of working en plein air, Downes reflects on how growing up in the United Kingdom influenced his perception of the American West. Downes is shown working on Presidio: In the Sand Hills Looking East with ATV Tracks & Water Tower (2012).More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Rackstraw Downes & Betty Cuningham Gallery. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
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Rackstraw Downes does not think of himself as a landscape painter, but as a painter of his surroundings—his environment. Often painted in a panoramic format, Downes’s images evince careful attention to details as well as to broad expanses of their surroundings. Created plein air in locations as diverse as metropolitan New York, rural Maine, and coastal and inland Texas, and without resorting to the use of photography, his compositions feature horizons that bend according to the way the eye naturally perceives. Downes often works in series, examining single scenes from multiple angles, over time, and in the process reveals changing qualities of light and shadow as well as changes in his own point of view.