Rebecca Rutstein: Out of the Darkness

Nov 1, 2018 thru Oct 27, 2019

Athens, Georgia

Opening Reception: Nov 2, 2018

Out of the Darkness, a year-long exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art, was part of Rutstein’s tenure as the 2018-19 Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding at the University of Georgia, an annual award given to leading global scholars and creative thinkers who conceive and produce ground breaking collaborative works with University of Georgia faculty. Rutstein’s collaboration with Regents Professor and microbiologist Mandy Joye included a joint expedition at sea to the Guaymas Basin in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and a deep sea dive in the submersible Alvin to the ocean floor 2,200 meters below, funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition to two weeks of community engagement, Rutstein and Joye gave a joint plenary lecture at the 2018 A2RU conference on Art, Sustainability and the Environment to an audience of 50 research universities.

Joye and Rutstein’s collaborative work stems from the Ocean Memory Project where they met. Guaymas Basin serves as a lens to look through time, where ancient hydrothermal processes can be seen anew in a nascent spreading sea, embodying a form of ocean memory. Included in this exhibition is, Shimmer, a 64′ long modular steel sculptural installation with LED lights and motion sensors that creates trails of light in reaction to the movements of the viewer. The installation is comprised of undulating, hexagonal sculptural forms (inspired by hydrocarbon structures that form through chemical processes unique to this location), and programmable LED lights, which mimic bioluminescent patterns observed during their dive in the Sea of Cortez. Also on view is Progenitor, a 22′ tall painting installation inspired by sonar mapping data, unique hydrothermal vent processes and photo microscopy of bacteria from Guaymas Basin.

This exhibition was generously funded through the Delta Visiting Chair award established by UGA’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts with a gift from the Delta Airlines Foundation in 1997. The chair is founded upon the legacy of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, which from 1997-2011 was presented to individuals – including Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter – whose initiatives promoted world peace by advancing understanding and cooperation among cultures and nations.

Shimmer is now in the permanent collection of the Georgia Museum of Art.