Rebecca Rutstein, the renowned Philadelphia-based artist known for her mesmerizing paintings, sculptures, and iconic murals like “Convergence” along the Schuylkill Expressway, has taken a remarkable dive into ocean exploration and advocacy.
Rutstein’s artistic journey, deeply rooted in nature’s wonders, began over two decades ago. Her creative vision has not only graced cityscapes but has also charted a unique course towards the depths of the ocean.
Her fascination with geology during her college years kindled a desire to explore the ocean, and her artistic talent paved the way to realize this dream. In 2015, Rutstein collaborated with scientists on a research vessel, spending three weeks at sea. During this voyage, she used paint and the ocean’s motion to create art, deepening her curiosity about the underwater world.
In 2018, Rutstein’s dreams reached new depths when she embarked on two journeys in the HOV Alvin, a pioneering deep-ocean submersible. Alvin, part of the National Deep Submergence Facility, can reach depths of up to 6,500 meters, providing scientists with invaluable data.
Rutstein described the experience of descending 2,200 meters in Alvin as a dream come true, offering a profound sense of the ocean’s grandeur. Her fascination with the intricate networks of ocean floor microbes inspired her to incorporate these images into her art. Rutstein’s creations aim to illuminate hidden natural systems and foster empathy and stewardship in the face of climate change.
One of her notable works, “Shimmer,” is a steel sculpture adorned with LED lights and motion sensors at the Georgia Museum of Art. Closer to home, “Sky Terrain” adorns Temple University’s campus, casting luminous floating clouds on the exterior of a parking garage.
Looking ahead, Rutstein plans a third dive with Alvin in the upcoming spring, eager to draw inspiration from the depths and share her passion through her art.
“I’m profoundly grateful for these opportunities, and I’m determined to bring the wonders of the ocean back to my studio to inspire people,” she declared.