Rebecca Rutstein: Convergence
August 18–September 15, 2017
John Hartell Gallery
College of Architecture, Art & Planning
129 Sibley Dome
Ithaca, NY 14853
Reception Friday, September 15, 5 p.m.
In 2015, Philadelphia-based artist Rebecca Rutstein (B.F.A. ’93) was invited to join scientists on the Nautilus exploration vessel for an expedition aimed at sea mapping the ocean floor from the Galápagos Islands to California. This cross-disciplinary exchange between scientists and artists is something Rutstein deeply values. For nearly 20 years, Rutstein has completed site-specific art residencies in geologically dynamic environments including Iceland, Hawaii, the Canadian Rockies, and Vermont. She returned to sea with the research vessel Falkor in 2016 to explore uncharted territory from Vietnam to Guam. While at sea and back in her studio, Rutstein has worked with high-resolution mapping data of the ocean floor collected by the ships’ multibeam sonar technology.
For Rutstein, geologic forces — from gradual erosion to violent upheaval — are powerful metaphors for life experiences and the ebbs and flows of relationships. Her paintings become mappings where scale is shifted and obscured, articulating fractal patterns found in nature. Rutstein constructs spaces through juxtapositions — micro and macro, graphic and atmospheric, organic and geometric, positive and negative, and linear and solid. Her work explores tensions created by these polarities.Convergence is a survey of Rutstein’s recent work that explores geometric abstraction inspired by science, data, and maps.
Rutstein’s interest in geology was initially sparked at Cornell University, where she took a geology course that shaped her artistic pursuits long after her time there. Seeing and learning firsthand about Ithaca’s exceptional exposure of sedimentary rocks carved by glacial and erosive forces was profoundly inspiring. It wasn’t until years after pursuing her M.F.A. that she saw a pathway to incorporate geologic themes into her paintings.
Rutstein’s work spans painting, installation, sculpture, and public art. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and has received numerous grants including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and an Independence Foundation Fellowship. Rutstein has garnered recent attention through interviews and features on NPR, Huffington Post, and Vice magazine, and her works can be found in public collections including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Temple University. Rutstein holds a B.F.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia and Zane Bennett Contemporary/Form and Concept in Santa Fe.