Visual Statement

A Shot Across the Bow

By Mary Iverson

“I have been studying the global shipping industry since 2000, observing its amazing growth both in cargo statistics and in the size of the ships. My work raises questions about the ultimate outcome of all of this development — namely, how it contributes to climate change.

Here, a wrecked container ship sits in Mount Rainier National Park’s Reflection Lakes with wayward cargo floating in the water and strewn about the lakeshore. This imagery proposes a post-apocalyptic scenario: After a cataclysmic event, port implements are stranded far inland, in places we would never imagine they might be. The message is that America’s parks, although protected spaces under the law, are still vulnerable to the deleterious effects of industrial activities. The imagery is also a metaphor for what is at stake when a national treasure is pitted against growth at any cost.”

Mary Iverson is a painter and public artist who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Her main sources of inspiration are close to her home: the Port of Seattle, and three National Parks (Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Park). The next exhibition of her paintings will be at Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, opening in December of 2016. A version of this article originally appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of Foreign Policy.

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