Mary Iverson's Cargo Cult

Shipping containers go rogue in the paintings of this Seattle artist.
Brangien Davis  |   May 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
mary iverson painting Cornish arts shows seattle arts
Mary Iverson’s mixed-media work “Flip” (2012), on view at the Cornish Alumni Gallery

Living in a port city means getting so used to seeing stacks of shipping containers that we hardly see them at all. But that’s not the case for Seattle artist Mary Iverson (, a graduate of both UW and Cornish College, whose work brings the colorful metal boxes to the foreground. In her hands, the containers have a life of their own, vibrating against each other and sometimes leaving the port altogether, landing in such unlikely places as a river running through Yosemite National Park or the vast, dry scrub of the Palouse. It’s the gridlines transecting these juxtapositions of nature and industry that create such an unsettling vibe, as if someone is mapping (or orchestrating?) the landscapes from afar—a team of alien surveyors or maybe a James Bond supervillain. The result is art as apocalyptic as it is appealing.

Through 5/25. Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Cornish Alumni Gallery, 1000 Lenora St.; 206.726.2787;