Gallery Show Features New Paula Scher Map Paintings


Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is presenting U.S.A., an exhibition of new paintings by Paula Scher. The artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery opens February 18. Needless to say, Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design for four decades. In the early 1990s, she began painting maps to invent her own narrative about the way she sees the world. For this exhibition, she created a body of large-scale cartographic paintings focusing on the United States. Paintings as tall as seven feet depict the country swirling in torrents of information and undulating with colorful layers of hand-painted boundary lines, place names, and commentary. Different sets of data – population demographics, transportation flows, geography, and climate – are employed to make connections and establish patterns.

Interestingly, Scher grew up surrounded by maps. Her father, Marvin, was a civil engineer for the U.S. Geological Survey who specialized in photogrammetry — the use of photography in surveying and mapping to measure distances between objects. He developed a device called Stereo Templates that corrects the distortion caused by aerial photography. This ultimately led to Scher’s fascination with hierarchies of information and how they are so often distorted and rearranged in order to emphasize certain content. Scher has been a principal at the Pentagram design firm’s New York office since 1991. The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is on West 24 Street in Manhattan.