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Mary Iverson’s Flip Continues in Alumni Gallery

Mary Iverson’s Flip Continues in Alumni Gallery

: Mary Iverson, Flip, panel 2, 2012, digital image, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist..

Exploring the relationship of the works of Nature and the works of humanity, Mary Iverson’s (DE ‘95) Flip is on display through May 25.

For anyone who has ever been horrified at city street grids that have painfully diced the landscape instead of following its contours, the work of Mary Iverson is for you. Iverson has a host of paintings of natural wonders overlaid with drafting lines — cluttered really, like layers of graffiti on a billboard. She seems fascinated with cargo containers, container ships and loading derricks. The drafting lines emanate from the edges of the objects in the pictures, as if they’ve been drawn from them, and perhaps they have been. But the cargo containers are not realistic, they are indeed clearly intended to be seen as the product of the drafting, floating in space, rendered the way students learn three-point perspective drawing in art class. Some are even so simplified that they are nothing more than primitive forms, their bright colors clashing with the earth tones of the landscape. The lines, the forms are intellectual constructs in her hands. The effect is striking: the artist forces the viewer to really look at the forms of nature and contemplate them in relation to human-made, analytical abstractions.

“Her work portrays the clash between globalization and the environment,” reads the art department’s release, “offering visions of container ships as they collide with national parks in surreal, post apocalyptic scenarios.” The meaning is important, but the pleasure of her work lies in the interplay of styles and subjects.

Iverson’s exhibition Flip, currently on display in Cornish’s alumni gallery, seems to be a logical extension of her paintings. Flip consists of an animation playing on a video screen, displayed with still frames from the animation that have been printed and hung on the adjacent walls. It features her customary formal language of natural scene and container ship, cargo containers and drafting lines, but makes them the stars of a narrative. She pictures a container ship stacked with containers tied at a dock with loading cranes, all very artificial, superimposed on a photograph-quality sea. Seeming to hang on the drafting lines, one of the containers floats from the deck of the ship and is flipped around in the air. Its sides open like a flower ‘til it lies flat. Then nature happens, and everyone should see that for themselves.

Flip was originally conceived as a public art piece, commissioned by Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation for their Seattle Art Interruptions project. 

Mary Iverson is a painter and public artist.  In 2011, her work was profiled in Juxtapoz Magazine and Hi Fructose Magazine. She is represented by galleries in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, and Munster, Germany. She teaches painting and drawing at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA, where she is a tenured faculty member. Mary Iverson received her BFA in Design from Cornish (magna cum laude) in 1995 and her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002.


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