Artist and part ocean explorer, Rebecca Rutstein – whose work spans painting, sculpture, interactive installation and public art – explores abstraction inspired by science, data and maps. With interests in geology, microbiology and marine science, Rutstein has been an artist-in-residence in Iceland, Hawaii, the Canadian Rockies, Washington’s San Juan Islands, California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and along the banks of the Gihon River in Vermont.
Most recently she has collaborated with scientists as an artist-in-residence on board research vessels sailing from the Galápagos Islands to California, Vietnam to Guam, and in Tahiti, exploring the deep ocean, working with data being collected and shedding light on a world hidden from view. Rutstein completed two more artist-at-sea expeditions funded by the National Science Foundation in Fall 2018, first, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and second, off Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to Guaymas Basin, collaborating with science teams on the R/V Atlantis research vessel.
The latter expedition begins her year-long tenure as the Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding; an annual award given to leading global scholars and creative thinkers who conceive and produce ground breaking collaborative works with University of Georgia faculty, which will include a year-long exhibition of Rutstein’s work at the Georgia Museum of Art. During both expeditions, Rutstein made her first deep sea dives to the ocean floor aboard Alvin, a fully submersible, 3-person vessel able to withstand the crushing pressure of the extremes of the deep ocean.
With over 25 solo exhibitions, Rutstein has exhibited widely in museums, institutions and galleries including solo exhibitions at the Georgia Museum of Art, California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks, Cornell University (NY), Exploratorium (CA), Philadelphia International Airport, Swarthmore College (PA) and Fleisher Art Memorial (PA). She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Percent for Art Commission with the City of Philadelphia, an Independence Foundation Fellowship and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant. Rutstein’s work has been featured on NPR and in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Vice Magazine. Her work can be be found in public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Temple University, Johns Hopkins Hospital & Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Rutstein holds a BFA from Cornell University (with abroad study in Rome) and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania. She has been a visiting artist at museums and universities across the US and enjoys speaking about the intersection of art and science. Rutstein is passionate about creating visual experiences that can connect the public with places and processes hidden from view, forging a dialogue about conservation and environmental stewardship of our oceans in the face of climate change.