Rackstraw Downes




Exhibition Catalogue from the Rackstraw Downes show at Betty Cuningham Gallery January 27 - March 12, 2022, features nine earlier works— sprawling landscapes, architectural exteriors, and cavernous interiors in New York City, Maine, and West Texas— and twenty-two recently completed drawings of Downes’ home studio. As the pandemic tore through the New York cityscape outside his SoHo loft, Rackstraw Downes began to draw the landscapes of his home, the artist’s loft he has lived in since the early ‘90’s. Maintaining his decades-long dedication to observational drawing, Downes continued to pay attention to the things he has throughout his career— the ordinary, often-overlooked, sometimes banal aspects of his environment. He depicts his apartment as he observes it, leaving his surroundings unstaged before he begins to draw and unmanipulated afterwards. Downes’ portrayals of his everyday objects— chairs, easels, a sofa— give an intimate glimpse into the reality of his daily life and ask what is means to truly see a place that is so familiar.

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