Rackstraw Downes discusses his approach and philosophies involved in his outdoor painting which was featured in the PBS broadcast “Balance” which was part of the Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 6 (2012) (art21 series) You can find the full version of this broadcast on their website (not able to embed the full video – just these three short sections)
Blurb from the PBS youTube presentation:
Filmed in late 2010, artist Rackstraw Downes discusses his interest in painting altered landscapes, such as the sand hills overlooking Presidio, Texas where ATV tire tracks cover the ground and a cell tower rises in the distance. While packing up his oil paints and easel after a day of working en plein air, Downes reflects on how growing up in the United Kingdom influenced his perception of the American West. Downes is shown working on “Presidio: In the Sand Hills Looking East with ATV Tracks & Water Tower” (2012).
Rackstraw Downes views the act of seeing and the art of representation as culturally taught, with different cultures accepting alternative delineations of the world as realistic. Often painted in a panoramic format, Downes’s images evince careful attention to details as well as to broad expanses of their surroundings. Created plein air in locations as diverse as metropolitan New York, rural Maine, and coastal and inland Texas—without resorting to the use of photography—his compositions feature horizons that bend according to the way the eye naturally perceives.
Also included in this youTube playlist is an interview with Rackstraw Downes at his Betty Cunningham Gallery This link to his gallery also has an online exhibition of his work show in the 12/2012 exhibit. Finally, there is 4/2012 video of a panel discussion at the Metropolitan Museum about presenting American Art that Rackstraw Downes was a part of that is of interest.
A good read and thoughtful review, Rackstraw Downes: In Focus, written in 2010 by Phong Bui in the Brooklyn Rail .