CARI fellow Dr. Julia Cartwright and Visual Artist Rebecca Rutstein present SMGA exhibition

Dr. Julia Cartwright, a NASA-funded planetary scientist in the Department of Geological Sciences at UA and a CARI fellow, has been collaborating with visual artist Rebecca Rutstein, to create an art exhibition inspired by Dr. Cartwright’s work to better understand the Solar System through the study of meteorites. An expert in cosmochemistry, Dr. Cartwright uses chemical analyses and petrological techniques achieved through high-resolution microscopy to investigate meteorites from localities including Mars, the Moon and the Asteroid Belt, at different scales. Her studies of tiny fragments of materials reveal many facets about Solar System history, and the images produced through the microscope objective highlight important features about planet formation.

“Every time I look down the microscope at these amazing samples, I find new clues about their formation history, and I am always trying to understand them from a new perspective”.

The collaboration with Ms. Rutstein takes this research to a new cosmic level.

Ms. Rutstein is an award-winning artist whose work spans the intersection of art, science and technology. She creates paintings, sculpture, immersive installations, and public art, often incorporating bright colors, bold shapes and geometric patterns, with an aim to create visual experiences that enhance and educate the viewer about natural systems. While her previous work has involved studies of the natural world, climate, ocean environments, including deep-sea excursions within the Alvin submersible, this is the first time that she has collaborated with a geologist to create work inspired by planets beyond our own.

“I’m fascinated by Julia’s work, and found inspiration in the striking shapes and patterns that we discovered together while looking at sections of meteorites – some for the very first time. Julia has helped me think about the universe in new ways”.

The result is a body of work, consisting of 16 paintings that take the viewer on a journey through the cosmos, to localities previously unseen or discovered.

Dr. Cartwright and Ms. Rutstein have been collaborating on this project for the last two years (throughout the pandemic), and are thrilled to see it come to fruition with the solo exhibition: “Rebecca Rutstein: Microscopic Journeys Through Cosmic Landscapes”, on view at the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art (UA) from September 8th thru  October 14th, 2022.

“This research and collaboration was made possible by generous support by CARI. I have never previously had the opportunity to work with an artist such as Rebecca, and I am so thankful for the experience, and for the guidance that CARI provided to me” – Dr. Cartwright.

The exhibition is the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art’s 2022-2023 Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Exhibition. Ms. Rutstein will present a public lecture on Thursday, September 8, at 3:30pm 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, 5-7pm.

Rutstein and Dr. Cartwright will also present a panel/seminar on Friday, Sept 9, at 3:30pm for in the AIME building, lecture hall 110.

After October 14th, the exhibit will travel to the Space Gallery in Denver, Colorado, for an exhibition through Jan, 2023.