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Exhibition celebrates meeting of art and science

Alan Flurry

This fall, painter and Willson Center Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding Rebecca Rutstein will embark on her fifth deep-sea expedition/artist’s residency, with a team of scientists led by the University of Georgia’s Samantha Joye and the University of North Carolina’s Andreas Teske. While the scientists study hydrothermal vents and the unique carbon-cycling processes occurring in Mexico’s Guaymas Basin in the Sea of Cortez, Rutstein will set up her studio on the ship and create new works inspired by the data they’re collecting in real time. Some of Rutstein’s earlier work will be on display in the year-long exhibition “Out of the Darkness: Light in the Depths of the Sea of Cortez” on view at the Georgia Museum of Art beginning Nov. 1:

An immersive 64-foot-long steel sculpture installation will be on display in the museum’s Patsy Dudley Pate Balcony through the following October. It contains hexagonal sculptural forms and reactive LED lights that will create trails mimicking the movements of the viewer. Its forms were inspired by data Joye previously collected on the hydrocarbon structures and bioluminescence present in the Guaymas Basin.

The exhibition will also include “Progenitor Series,” a 22-foot-tall painting installation spanning two stories in the museum’s M. Smith Griffith Grand Hall and on view through March 31. The vertical orientation is inspired by the water column and Joye’s 2,200-meter descent to the ocean floor at Guaymas Basin. In each canvas of the series, Rutstein shifts scale and orientation while utilizing various data collected at sea, including sonar maps of hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. Through the lens of abstraction and with her continued interest in the fractal geometry of nature, Rutstein sheds light on the little-known processes at Guaymas Basin, connecting us with this hidden realm.


The exhibition opens during UGA’s annual Spotlight on the Arts festival, and coincides with the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) conference, at which Rustein and Joye will take part in a public conversationmoderated by Willson Center Director Nicholas Allen on Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. in Mahler Hall in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel.

Great project, in line with the legacy of art and science collaborations on campus and pushing that tradition in new directions. We're glad to welcome Rutstien to UGA and look forward to this exhibition.

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