WASHINGTON, DC.- British-born artist, teacher, editor and writer Rackstraw Downes will speak on Thoughts of a Painter April 30. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., and the lecture begins at 6 p.m. at the Cosmopolitan Club at 122 East 66th Street in New York City. Tickets are $50, and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Archives of American Art.
A modern-day Realist, Downes began his career as a geometrical abstract painter. Focusing on the landscape, Downes throws aside conventional perspective and builds his compositions intuitively. The first indication that there is something unique about his paintings is the exaggerated width-to-height format of his canvases. The horizon line is curved, not flat. Fond of quoting the French poet Paul Valéry, [until] you draw an object you realize that
you had never actually seen it, Downes focuses on the revelatory process of making art rather than the merely illustrative. His paintings reveal a world that we often walk by without seeing, and they make us realize that we should go back and pay closer attention.
Downes has written for The New York Times, Art in America, The New Criterion and many other publications. His writings have been collected in the publications In Relation to the Whole and Under the Gowanus and Razor-Wire Journal. He also served as editor of Art in its Own Terms, a collection of critical writings of the artist Fairfield Porter. At that time, Downes wrote that he admired Porters ability to write about the energy that animates a work of art. Today, Downes is his worthy successor.