Rackstraw Downes: Interview

Rackstraw Downes, Under an Off-Ramp from the George Washington Bridge, 2011, oil
Rackstraw Downes, Under an Off-Ramp from the George Washington Bridge, 2011, oil on canvas, 26 x 56 inches (courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery)

Jennifer Samet interviews painter Rackstraw Downes on the occasion of an exhibition of new paintings at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, on view through November 24, 2012.

Downes comments: "...we are a sound bite culture. My work is very slow; it evolves very slowly. I have been drawing in a four-block range, with the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital on the right, and the overpasses and on and off ramps from the George Washington Bridge on the left. I could work there for years. When you’re there, as Cézanne said, you keep seeing more and more things. Almost anything becomes a composition and a possible motif. The longer you look, the more you see. You do really feel like you could paint on that painting forever. You discover new things, new relationships, not only the ones to the left and right, but you stand back, and discover new ones right where you are working. It is by painting it that you clarify it to yourself. You keep searching and searching. And to say that you’ve found it is not true. You’ve only found one section."