My work expands upon my interest in geology and the undercurrents that continually shape and reshape our world. These forces – from gradual erosion to violent upheaval – are powerful metaphors for life experiences and the ebbs and flows of relationships. In my paintings, I map out terrains without a fixed sense of scale or gravity. I am conscious of juxtapositions: graphic and atmospheric, positive and negative, solid and linear, micro and macro. Through my work, I set out to create spaces that bridge these polarities.
Progenitor Artist Statement:
Rutstein will exhibit Progenitor, a monumental 22-foot tall painting installation spanning two stories in the M. Smith Griffith Grand Hall at the Georgia Museum of Art. The vertical orientation is inspired by the water column and Rutstein’s descent 2,200 meters to the ocean floor at Guaymas Basin (in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez) in the submersible Alvin with University of Georgia Professor and scientist Mandy Joye.
In each canvas of the series, Rutstein shifts scale and orientation while utilizing various data collected at Guaymas Basin, including sonar maps of hydrothermal vents present on the ocean floor. She also takes inspiration from microbiology which play a key role in the unique chemical processes occurring there. Many scientists believe life on earth began at hydrothermal vents, so studying the microbiology and ancient processes happening there can help us to better understand the origins of life. When viewed through a microscope, these bacteria form long filaments, while with the naked eye, form everchanging “mats” on the surface of the vents. Through the lens of abstraction and with her continued interest in the fractal geometry of nature, Rutstein sheds light on the mysterious processes at Guaymas Basin, connecting us with this hidden world.
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