“As a multidisciplinary artist who often collaborates with scientists, travels on expeditions at sea to create works that shed light on the natural world, works with data, and tries to connect the viewer with places and processes hidden from view, this body of work is an inward pivot – each painting, a personal meditation. I hope to capture these distortions of time, flurry of emotions, fluctuations as I drag the paintbrush to the beat of my own breath. Time is passing, a time less linear and more dimensional.”
Philadelphia based artist, Rebecca Rutstein, explores abstraction inspired by her interest in geology, microbiology, marine science and the undercurrents that continually shape the physical world. Her paintings incorporate structural networks that articulate patterns found in nature, data, maps, micro and macro, handmade and mechanized, linear and solid. These visual experiences shed light on places and processes normally hidden from view and engage the viewer with a heightened connection to these enigmatic worlds. Through ongoing collaborations with scientists, much of her recent work has focused on mapping data of the deep sea seeking to illuminate a hidden world.
In her new series of work, Topographies of Time, Rutstein’s language of abstraction and exploration of hidden networks pivots inward, as she reflects on the impact of recent events on our experience of global interconnectedness. She suggests that our shared experience of time has shifted, stretched, bent and slowed, or alternately become frantic in fits and starts, as normalcy has been superseded by world events. Many of Rutstein’s paintings incorporate cellular networks of forms, lines or bands of colors that reveal an experience of time that is changing, elongating and warping as routines shift and days blur their boundaries. The series is a record of altering emotional states during the global pandemic: feelings of containment, anxiety, gratitude and new possibilities.
With over 25 solo exhibitions, Rebecca Rutstein has exhibited widely in museums, institutions and galleries throughout the United States and is the recipient of numerous awards. Her work is in the public collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Temple University, Johns Hopkins Hospital & Albert Einstein College of Medicine, among others. Public commissions include Convergence, AT&T/Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA, 2019 and Sculptural Commission, Yale University, Yale Science Building, New Haven, CT, 2019 and numerous others.
Rebecca Rutstein holds a BFA from Cornell University (with study abroad 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.