Shipping Shapes: Perspective Drawing Lines Form Containerized Landscapes

Anyone who has seen stacks of shipping containers and the huge
cranes that move them at big ports knows they can make for a
marvelous sight, but what happens when you overlay
those rigid geometries on other landscapes?

Artist Mary Iverson,
who lives near one such port in Seattle, combines paint and
photographs to explore the results of globalization,
intersecting natural and built environments with bright
geometric cargo container boxes, ships and infrastructure.

“In following my interests and working to resolve an artistic
dichotomy within myself,” she explains of her work, “between my
love and nature and my fascination with the shipping industry,
I came upon a visual solution that metaphorically echoes what
we are facing in the world today.”

Architectural drawings often leave behind traces of
perspective, hinted at in pencil before final forms are inked
in pen. In her work, Iverson leaves those construction lines in
place, then fills in gaps selectively to form containers.

“My paintings are colorful abstractions that spring from the
theme of the industrial shipping terminal. The canvases feature
mass accumulations of shipping containers and container cranes
in various perspectives. My work employs a network of searching
perspective lines and layers of interlocking, colorful planes
and rectangles that suggest both deep space and flat surface.”

In both artificial and organic landscapes, the boxes introduce
depth and scale, juxtaposing existing spaces
with perspectives that align with new grids.

Iverson received her MFA in Painting from the University of
Washington in 2002 and currently teaches painting and drawing
at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA as a tenured
faculty member. (via

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