Dr. Julia Cartwright, a NASA-funded planetary scientist in the Department of Geological Sciences at UA and a CARI fellow, collaborated over a two year period with visual artist Rebecca Rutstein, to create an art exhibition, Rebecca Rutstein: Microscopic Journeys Through Cosmic Landscapes, 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. 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.


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. Julia Cartwright, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences

Rebecca Rutstein, Multidisciplinary artist