Racksraw Downes: a painter

40 minutes

Distributor: Video Data Bank

 ︎︎︎ Watch the film on Vimeo On Demand

For educational use, please contact the distributor.

Since the early 1970s, Rackstraw Downes 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 I shot, visiting those sites on my 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 my point of view and inspired by the painter’s art.

Selected Film Festivals & Screenings

Anthology Film Archives (New York, NY)
MOVECINEARTE Film Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, PA)


“A Film About the Painter Rackstraw Downes”
by Robert Sullivan. The New Yorker (September 21, 2018)

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

© 2023 Rima Yamazaki. All Rights Reserved.