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Rackstraw Downes: Drawing as part of the process
Rackstraw Downes, the internationally renowned realist painter, is particularly celebrated for his work within the tradition of panoramic landscape. Clarity and obstinate fidelity to the observed world, awareness of the social dimension, and a refusal to accept short cuts such as the convention of single-point perspective, lend intensity, freshness, and richness to his disarmingly empirical, but unforgettable images. A sense of place-of human presence, or absence-is a defining characteristic of his work.
The Studio School exhibition concentrates exclusively on works on paper to reveal, through 58 drawings, the way the artist finds his painting images through series of closely related drawings made in situ. The show covers seven motifs from the period 1998 to 2002, including water-flow monitoring installations on the Rio Grande, Texas; the golf cage at Chelsea Piers; a water-main construction project on New York’s Canal Street; and an music hall at Snug Harbor on Staten Island.