My work expands upon my interest in geology, microbiology, marine science and the undercurrents that continually shape and reshape our world. I create layered networks where scale is shifted and obscured, articulating fractal patterns found in nature. Incorporating data and maps, juxtapositions coexist in my paintings and installations: micro and macro, expressive and restrained, graphic and atmospheric, organic and geometric, handmade and mechanized, linear and solid. Working with sonar maps and other oceanic data in collaboration with scientists, much of my recent work and upcoming projects focus on shedding light on a world hidden from view. These visual experiences are meant to deepen one’s connection to these unseen places in the spirit of fostering understanding, empathy and conservancy of our oceans in the face of climate change.
– Rebecca Rutstein, 2018
Philadelphia-based artist Rebecca Rutstein – whose work spans painting, installation, sculpture 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 Vermont. Most recently she has collaborated with scientists on board research vessels sailing from the Galápagos Islands to California, Vietnam to Guam, and in Tahiti, working with sonar mapping data of the ocean floor and shedding light on a world hidden from view. Rutstein is slated to make her first descents to the ocean floor in the deep sea submersible Alvin off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica in October 2018 with a science team from Temple University, and off Mexico’s Gulf of California in November, 2018, with University of Georgia, where she will also be the 2018-19 Delta Visiting Chair with a year-long exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art.
With over 25 solo exhibitions, Rutstein has exhibited widely in museums, institutions and galleries including solo exhibitions at the 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, 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 also 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.