Galapagos I by Rebecca Rutstein, 2016, acrylic on canvas
In 2015, I joined scientists on the E/V Nautilus for an expedition mapping the ocean floor from the Galápagos Islands to California. This cross-disciplinary exchange between scientists and artists is something I deeply value. For nearly twenty years, I have been inspired by geology, completing art residencies in dynamic locations including Iceland, Hawaii, and the Canadian Rockies. I returned to sea with the R/V Falkor (2016) to explore uncharted territory from Vietnam to Guam. While at sea, I worked with high-resolution mapping data of the ocean floor collected by the ships’ multi-beam sonar technology. Deep ocean exploration is critically important, as scientists have only mapped 5-10% of the seafloor in high-resolution. To better understand geologic processes, natural resources, and climate change, we need to have a clearer picture of our planet. My art shares the importance of seafloor mapping, ocean exploration and the enigmatic beauty of these hidden landscapes.