Out of Thin Air

Sept 8–Oct 14, 2022

Sarah Moody Gallery

Public Artist Lecture: Thurs Sept 8, 3:30pm, Opening Reception: Thurs Sept 8, 5-7pm

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art and the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative (CARI) are proud to present the exhibition, Rebecca Rutstein: Out of Thin Air: Microscopic Journeys Through Cosmic Landscapes. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between Rutstein and NASA-funded UA Department of Geological Sciences assistant professor Dr. Julia Cartwright, facilitated by the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative, where Dr. Cartwright is a Fellow.

Rebecca Rutstein works at the intersection of art, science and technology, creating visual experiences that reveal hidden environments in the natural world.

Dr. Cartwright is a planetary scientist who uses multiple technologies to characterize extra-terrestrial materials to investigate Solar System processes. She uses high-resolution microscopy and petrographic techniques to analyze thin sections of meteorites at different scales to investigate their formation histories.

Rutstein’s paintings for this exhibition are inspired by microscopic investigations of these billions of year old meteorite fragments, as well as the wild journeys that they experienced before hurtling to Earth.

“Some of the sections we were looking at together under the microscope were being seen for the first time,” the artist said, “We were the first to see and study them.”

This body of work, all created in 2022, puts the viewer into an intriguing painted space that invites persistent observation for navigating the ambiguous and alluring spatial plains that reference their empirical underpinnings.

While Rutstein frequently employs a geometric-based painting vocabulary, she also achieves great depth by using proportion, scale and atmosphere. These visual ingredients collide to conjure her source materials. Rutstein’s work is at once cool and synthetic yet conveys a production history that extends them to her audience and inducts them into the history of painting. Rich, intense color integral to the majority of these pieces ties them to our experiences with the living color here on Earth, a fascinating bridge.