Paula Scher: The Maps
I really was inspired by the video of Paula Scher, her passion and obsession as an artist is something that quite amazing. The way she has blurred the boundaries between the Graphic Design and the Fine Arts is very unique and interesting. She is a true contemporary artist who has the skills to relate to the world as it is and to the Corporate World where she influences the Designs through Commissions in those very Public Spaces. Paula is a modern day Master in my opinion and I'm sure she is a really beautiful and interesting person with a big heart and mind.
Ms. Scher began her career creating album covers for CBS Recordings in the 1970's. She moved on to art direction for magazines at Time Inc and in the 1980's formed her own boutique firm, Koppel & Scher. She has been a principal at the New York-based Pentagram design consultancy since 1991, where she has created visual identities for Citibank, The New York Public Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. In 1999, she donated logo insignia to Friends of the High Line, helping to publicize the campaign to restore the Chelsea waterfront from a rusting railroad to an oceanside park. At the moment, Scher is deeply involved with the design of a new urban center in the Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The final project will include a convention center, a museum, hotels and a retail shopping center.
Painted on monumental canvases, entire cities, countries, and continents are saturated with layers of elaborate lines, explosions of words, and vibrant colors. These complex and alluring new paintings reflect the unrestrained approach to artistic practice that has made Paula Scher one of the most provocative figures in the contemporary art and design world. The maps are a highly personal re-imagining of the “useless information” that bombards us through every form of media. As art practices are turning increasingly towards digital imagery and manipulation to achieve their desired means, Scher’s hand-painted maps are unabashedly expressionist. The determination to visually realize a problematic space with a high degree of formal elegance and graphic finesse is a new take on the highly charged aesthetic of Modernism. Two maps of New York City reveal twin strands of the urban imagination. NYC Transit (2007) depicts Manhattan island as a bright destination hub, crisscrossed by an intricate, loopy subway system; an ode to the rhythms of daily life in the city. Manhattan at night (2007) depicts a city given form by its famed neighborhoods (SoHo, Tribeca, Greenwich Village, etc) rendered as marquee idols in light. It’s an image of New York City’s irreducible Romance offered to every one of its millions of inhabitants. On the other side of the spectrum, Middle East (2007) imagines a collection of countries painted over a black backdrop, perhaps a reference to the area’s oil supply and America’s shadowed relationship to it. The area’s historical past is represented through dashes and dots, delineating the Babylonian Empire, Moslem Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Roman Empire.