Bill Morris writes about painter Rackstraw Downes on the occasion of the exhibition Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972-2008, a retrospective on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC through August 21, 2011.
Morris looks at Downes' move from hard-edge abstraction to landscape painting through the prism of his [Downes'] book In Relation to the Whole: Three Essays From Three Decades, 1973, 1981, 1996. "Downes’s literary training comes through when he describes what he was trying to do: 'I wanted to get rid of style, art, artiness, everything extra. I think this is what Stendahl meant when he said that every morning before writing on The Charterhouse of Parma he would read a few pages of the Civil Code.' "