Haunch of Venison presents its first solo exhibition of New York based artist José Parlá. Born in Miami of Cuban parents artist José Parlá’s vibrant works explore the multi-layered histories of cities and urban environments; his paintings and site-specific installations are created both in his large carriage house studio and also works outside throughout city surfaces. His expressive painting style and layers of ephemera and found objects combined with calligraphic abstraction have a lyrical feel to them, are uniquely his. This exhibition presents new paintings, works on paper, photographs and sculptures throughout our three gallery spaces.
Parla’s work acts as a record of his journeys through streets that he navigates, using a map of one city to direct you through another. He documents his city walks through photographs as well as at times collecting detritus from the streets, once back in the studio they are used to build the composition of each painting.
Language and writing are key themes within Parlá’s work. He often incorporates layers of text from street posters he collects while traveling. His own stylized calligraphy is worked into and on the surface of each painting, and although it is always partially obscured and indecipherable, it is a personal narrative of his experiences and a record of stories he discovers on his various journeys.
Parla’s paintings are made in reaction to the urban environment; they are impressions of what we are surrounded by, a response to the energy that courses through every city. Parla brings beauty to ruggedness and decay, and a language of his very own to what he sees and feels around him.
José Parlá summarizes the work in the exhibition Broken Language:
For most of my life I have experienced being in transition and migration. This feeling allows me to bring the broken languages of the global community and its conditions into the gallery. My work is an empire of fragmented cacophonies, observed performances, palimpsestic musical gestures, and topographical compositions governing the essence of the cities I’ve travelled through.
José Parlá has exhibited internationally, including major shows in London, New York, Paris and Havana. In 2012 he exhibited at the 11th Havana Biennial, Cuba, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and was added to the collection of the British Museum.