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 Colossal).