José Parlá, No Return, Here Again, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist and OHWOW Gallery.
September 9 - October 22, 2011
937 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Los Angeles, CA - OHWOW is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by José Parlá, titled Character Gestures, open September 9th through October 22nd, 2011. Comprised of paintings, mono-transfers and installations, this exhibition builds on the artist’s earlier work that dealt with the concept of psychogeography and depicted distressed architectural surfaces layered with calligraphic text. While he continues to broach the idea of how we experience urban landscapes and the visual language of mark making, the shift within Character Gestures stems from a deeper engagement with process and abstraction.
The notion of “character” is as much about text, integrity, and specific traits, as it is a literal nod to Parlá’s performance, wherein he assumes the role of hypothetical pedestrians who interact with marred city walls, as he creates the work. “Gesture,” encompasses the ideas of movement, communication, and demonstration, and is mutually respectful of the artist’s accidental and calculated actions when applying medium to surface.
With Parlá’s new paintings, as seen in No Return, Here Again, 2011, marks mix with textures, bright colors, and media, yet the process is as involved and significant as the visual outcome. Additionally, a large-scale installation fills the central gallery space - the freestanding sculptural translation of classroom memories opens a conversation with the surrounding paintings. In a collection of work on paper, which Parlá refers to as “mono-transfers,” he experiments with a form of frottage, documenting his new paintings via the impressions they leave on paper.
Character Gestures exemplifies Parlá’s deftness at technical execution; the complexity of layering, combined with erasure, still manages a translucent effect. His fluency in visual communication is mindful of the fact that any emotion or memory that attempts physicality can only serve, in reality, as an abbreviation of its original essence. He mitigates this condition through his poetic and individualized form of aesthetic dialogue, while navigating the art historic doctrine of Abstraction.
José Parlá studied fine arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, and The New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. His work has appeared in exhibitions in London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Paris. Character Gestures is his first solo exhibition at OHWOW, and a catalogue will be published in conjunction with the show. Parlá’s monograph, Walls, Diaries, and Paintings (2011), was published by Hatje Cantz for the occasion of his solo exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz gallery in New York. Parlá currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Jose Parla: Off the Wall
New York-based artist José Parlá got his start writing graffiti in Miami, but it was his dedication to transplanting the street to the gallery that won him acclaim in the art world. “Society mostly categorized [graffiti] art as vandalism, so my struggle as an artist was to show its beauty to those who could not see it,” he says, noting that, historically, the feedback wasn’t entirely positive: “The more people told me it was trash, the more I wanted to do it.” For his new show Walls, Diaries and Paintings at New York’s Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, the artist embarked on a global treasure hunt, collecting fliers and posters from Istanbul, Havana, Tokyo, Shanghai and New York. Parlá drew inspiration from urban walls in each of the cities, reproducing them in his richly textured works, which layer the found materials with oil paint, saw dust, spray enamel and dirt, all punctuated by tag-styled signatures. Filmmaker Matt Black, who has known the artist for over a decade, discussed the personal history that informs Parlá’s methods for today’s short, the second episode in Black’s series, Reflections. Hatje Cantz will publish a monograph of the artist’s latest works in conjunction with the exhibition.