Nature and Art Are Physical: Writings on Art, 1967-2008
Author: Rackstraw Downes, with an introduction by John Elderfield
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Edgewise Press, April 2014
List Price: $20.00
Rackstraw Downes is a gifted painter who has carved out his own unique brand of plein-air realism. He is also an incisive writer about how perception and aesthetics combine and sometimes collide to shape our sense of the world. Featuring a comprehensive introduction by MoMA Chief Curator Emeritus and AICA-USA member John Elderfield, this collection of 29 essays that range widely, from Cezanne’s drawings to Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field, focusing in particular on the varieties of artistic response that Downes’s preferred subject matter—landscape—provokes.
Downes's paintings have been exhibited widely, and are in the permanent collection of many national and international museums. His art was the subject of a 2005 Princeton University Press monograph and a 2010 Parrish Art Museum survey exhibition. Downes's career as a writer commenced in 1979 when he edited the writings of artist critic Fairfield Porter, Art in Its Own Terms. His essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Art in America, ARTnews, and Art Journal, and have been published in several compendiums, including an earlier Edgewise Press publication, In Relation to the Whole: Three Essays from Three Decades – 1973, 1981, 1996.