Rackstraw Downes: a painter

(2014 / 40 minutes / HD / English)

distributor: Video Data Bank

Since the early 1970s Rackstraw Downes, painter, has committed himself to painting from observation, on site, from start to finish. He has painted both urban and rural landscapes as well as interior spaces, in New York, Texas, and Maine. Although he simply paints exactly what he sees, the ordinary sites become transformed into extraordinary scenes. In 2014 Downes spent the summer painting the site located in the northern part of Manhattan and his studio in SoHo. This film captures the painter working on site, outdoors and indoors, in an observational style. It expresses the atmosphere of his work as well as the surroundings. Some of his past works, which he painted in New York City, are also included in the film along with the footage which the filmmaker newly shot, visiting those sites on her own. In addition, known as a skilled writer, Downes recites a couple of texts specially for this film. This film is a unique but truthful portrait of the painter, captured through the filmmaker’s point of view and inspired by the painter’s art.

Patient and Transcendent, "Rackstraw Downes: A Painter" Honors the Act of Creation by Chris Packham. The Village Voice (April 26, 2017)

[Related Article]
The Art in Playing the Pedestrian by Francis X. Clines. The New York Times (October 15, 2015)

[Selected Screenings]
2017   Anthology Film Archives (New York, NY)
2016   The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)
2016   The Lumberyard (Marfa, TX)
2015   Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, PA)

[Official Selection Film Festival]
2017   MOVECINEARTE Film Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil)