Paula Scher’s celebrated ‘Maps’ paintings are wonderful expressionistic cartographic images of the world as seen through human eyes, at once a social, political and personal description of the World and its intricate connections described by one of America’s most celebrated graphic designers.
These maps are not mathematically correct, they are not a travel guide, a geographically accurate document rather they are pictures that abound in swirling torrents of information, undulating layers of boundary lines, place names and cultural commentary. It is obsessively collated, created and above all personal, an individuals view of the world we live in. Colour, form, typography all play a part in Scher’s history of the world. Here’s what Scher has to say about her paintings:
The World is a painting about information overload. It depicts the world as swirling information that is always changing, often inaccurate, while somewhat illuminating. It is expressionistic information.
I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. I wanted to list what I know about the world from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload. These are paintings of distortions.
The way the maps work is that they’re total abstractions, and yet they have all this meaning attached to them
Simon Winchester the writer, journalist and broadcaster had this to say about Scher’s maps:
A Paula Scher map is both detached from reality and yet at the same time becomes an entirely new reality, one that manages to be useless and essential all at once. What follows here is cartography as living art — fun and whimsical, obsessively made, and knowingly offered, lovingly, to be read…Maps such as these are never ever to be replaced by the cold blinking eyes of the GPS. Use them, enjoy them, glory in their madness.
Pretty much says it all. If you love these maps you can buy them in a beautiful book off Amazon.