Between Past and Future

By Iskra Johnson

I have been photographing the Alaska Way Viaduct for at least 25 years. In its last days, this iconic structure remains, for me, an enduring object of affliction. In 2014, for my solo show “Excavations”, I did a series of work that juxtaposed the glory of the drive through the city’s sky with the structure’s decay and impending disruption. In its various states of ruin, the viaduct holds a complicated power of legacy, eulogy and promise. The shards of a structure destroyed, after barely five decades of use, confront us vividly with impermanence. The last pillars, in all their grimy minimalism, face off with what will be a new waterfront poised between its purpose as a port and its probably future as a gentrified tourist playground.


West coast artist, Iskra Johnson, explores the geography between stillness and impermanence through the practice of contemplative art. Embracing diverse media, her work combines photography, printmaking, digital art and painting. Currently, she is focused on two themes: displacement and change in the architectural/industrial landscape, and the quieter but no less dramatic metamorphoses of the natural world.