We recently visited Mary Iverson’s studio as she finished up works for her Sunk exhibition, opening on November 7th at the Davidson Galleries in Seattle. After receiving an art grant, Mary traveled to Yosemite National Park in order to gain some source material for her wonderful landscape paintings. In addition to the photographs she takes for reference, she also takes the opportunity to paint at location with water colors. These smaller pieces are most dear to her heart since they were created while surrounded by the natural beauty of the surroundings. But back in the studio is where the larger oil paintings are created.

Mary’s landscapes will smack you in the face with notions on how consumerism has taken over our culture.  Overlaid upon the scenery you will find colorful rectangles representing shipping containers, as well as the ships they arrive on. Etched into the paint are intersecting lines representing not only their travels across the globe, but also how connected they are with everyday life. Most of the “stuff” we use on a daily basis was shipped in one of these containers. This “stuff” is slowly taking over our vision, which begs the question as whether the natural beauty of the planet will matter much when our heads are buried in the latest phone or gadget. With an ever growing populace, how long can the planet sustain such a culture?

Mary’s studio is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, which has its own marina and locks, and barges can be seen from the shore, traversing to or from the their respective ports. Dismantled and decaying ship photographs hang above her desk, as well as paper ships that she uses to aid in the layout of a piece. A cozy couch adorns the middle of the room, cascaded by ambient natural light and several bookcases brimming with reading material.