Renowned Artist and UA Planetary Scientist Collaborate for SMGA Exhibition

Rebecca Rutstein, “The Stories You Tell,” 2022, 48 x 36 inches, acrylic, flashe and spray paint on canvas

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 will run from September 8 through October 14, 2022. Rutstein will present a public lecture on Thursday, September 8, at 3:30 p.m. in the Yellowhammer Room on the second floor of Gorgas Library. After the lecture, there will be a reception for the artist in the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, 103 Garland Hall, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between Rutstein and 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 analytical techniques 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.

Rebecca Rutstein, courtesy Rebecca McAlpin.

Rutstein’s paintings for this exhibition are inspired by microscopic investigations of these ancient meteorite materials, while considering both their formation, and the wild journeys that they experienced, before hurtling to Earth.

“Some of the slices 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.

Rebecca Rutstein, “Weaving Histories,” 2022, acrylic, flashe and spray paint on canvas.

Rutstein is an award-winning, multidisciplinary artist whose work spans painting, sculpture, interactive installation and public art. She is passionate about creating visual experiences that shed light on the natural world, forging a dialogue about environmental stewardship in the face of climate change. Rutstein has been an artist-in-residence at locations around the world, including six expeditions at sea and two dives to the ocean floor in the Alvin submersible. Her collaborations with scientists have been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Academies of Science / Keck Futures Initiative, Delta Airlines Foundation, University of Washington, Ocean Exploration Trust, Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Philadelphia Foundation. Rutstein’s work can be found in public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, U.S. Department of State, Yale University, University of New Mexico, Temple University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and AT&T. Rutstein holds a BFA magna cum laude from Cornell University and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania. She is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia; Space Gallery, Denver; and Sherry Leedy Contemporary, Kansas City.

This exhibition is the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art’s 2022-2023 Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Exhibition.

Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. when school is in session. The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is located at 103 Garland Hall in the heart of UA campus on Woods Quad. Information about visitor parking is available on the UA Parking Services website.

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and the UA Department of Art and Art History, is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. We invite you to visit us for a class, an opportunity to look at art, or just a quiet, meditative respite from the outside world. Visitors are not required but are encouraged to wear masks inside the gallery. Have questions or need assistance? Contact the gallery at 348-1891 or visit us online.

The Collaborative Arts Research Initiative (CARI) is an interdisciplinary, arts-focused research engine driven by the interests of faculty from across The University of Alabama. By facilitating collaborations across disciplines, CARI maximizes the impact of faculty arts research, while enriching the University, local, and regional communities. For more information, visit the CARI website.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.