Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present José Parlá's Anonymous Vernacular, a series of new paintings and reworked found objects. This marks Parlá's fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
For over a decade, Parlá has rigorously experimented with a mix of non-traditional painting materials and collage to create his signature style, a graphomanic reflection of a distinctly urban vernacular. Parlá's studio practice is grounded in the tradition of Wild Style painting, rooted in the same cultural soil as Rammellzee and Jean-Michel Basquiat, while also inspired by Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Mimmo Rotella, and the history of abstract art.
In this exhibition, Parlá combines layered advertising posters he has collected from temporary construction walls with his own calligraphic techniques that both improvise and expose texts, letters, symbols, phrases, and words. Parlá's personal mark-making weaves itself into the textures and compositions of the ripped advertisements, creating an obliquely legible codex all his own.
The fragmented materials from the street imbue each work with a profound sense of empathy and respect, not only for the urban environment but also for the "anonymous writers" who inspired Parlá early on. Some of the works are on shaped canvases, others are rectilinear. The new paintings in Anonymous Vernacular are linked to an obsession Parlá has with looking at walls, ever since his early days, painting their surfaces and searching to decode marks made on them.
For this exhibition, Parlá is introducing a new reworked found-object sculpture in homage to the bottle collectors and the homeless that still come from all over the borough to deposit their collections at a recycling center in his neighborhood. Taken as a whole, these works deliberately blur any boundaries between the studio and the street. They utilize the incidental aesthetics of the city and nod to the poetics of inspired observation.
The anonymity of actions and marks made in a city can amount to an ever-evolving contemporary visual language – the city as text. A name or message on a wall, homeless people, pushing their makeshift homes in a cart, layers of ripped posters, or an old tarp covering a hole, broken subway tiles, erosion on a steel panel in an alleyway filled with trash, all part of our humanity's anonymous vernacular.
(José Parlá, Brooklyn, NY)
José Parlá (b. 1973 Miami, FL; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) is a multidisciplinary artist in painting, large scale murals, photography, video and sculpture. At the core of his work, paint, writing and found ephemera combine to evoke the collective unconscious of urban communities.
His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; The Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; National Young Arts Foundation, Miami, FL; The SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah GA; The Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba; Agnes B, galerie du jour, Paris, France; Yuka Tsuruno Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; and most recently Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy; and Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, UK.
Parlá's major commissions include the University of Texas, Austin, One World Trade Center, NYC, the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University commissioned by the architectural firm Snøhetta.
In May, Parlá will be participating in the Glasstress exhibition organized by Fondazione Berengo as part of the 2019 Venice Biennale, in September, Parlá will be exhibiting at the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (HOCA), curated by Dieter Buchhart, and in the spring of 2020 Parlá will open his first New York museum solo exhibition at the Bronx Museum of Art curated by Manon Slome.
Parlá's work is in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York; The British Museum, London; the POLA Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan; the Burger Collection in Hong Kong; The Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; and The National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba.