Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present U.S.A., an exhibition of new paintings by Paula Scher. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Paula 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. Displaying a powerful command of image and type, Scher has created a novel way of subjectively twisting and confounding the visualization of data.
For this exhibition, Scher has 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. While the information can in no way be interpreted as literal fact, the expression of it demonstrates a personalized understanding of the diversity of the United States.
Scher grew up surrounded by maps. Her father was a civil engineer for the United States 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.
Born in 1948 in Virginia, Scher grew up in Washington D.C. and studied design at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia before moving to New York City in 1970. She began her career as an art director in the 1970s and has been a principal at the Pentagram design firm’s New York office since 1991. During the course of her career, Scher has been the recipient of hundreds of industry honors and awards including the National Design Award and AIGA Medal. In 2006, she was named to the Public Design Commission of the City of New York. Paula Scher’s work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Library of Congress.