The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Friday, January 7, 2011

José Parlá (born in 1973 in Miami, raised in Cuba) is an artist who assumes different roles in order to create his work: he acts as a historical transcriber and a visual raconteur. As a transcriber, he records his experiences in calligraphic and palimpsestic code. Serving as a collection of textually chronicled memories, the markings appear on backdrops that resemble the distressed surfaces he encounters — the cosmetic results of passed time — city walls marred by layers of paint, old posters, and years of neglect.

Parlá’s paintings are inspired by the environments of cities he has traveled to, which include Havana, London, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York City, where he is now based. His mixed media works sometimes employ fresco techniques and include acrylic, oil paints, plaster, posters used as collage, homemade inks, and enamel spray paint.

Published by Hatje Cantz Verlang, this new monograph offers a full look at the artists calligraphic work, inspired by anonymous street art and damaged surfaces.

Taking a break from preparations for a his upcoming show at Bryce Walkowitz Gallery in New York, opening March 3, 2011, Parlá will be making a quick trip to Toronto in mid-January to attend the launch reception for two epic murals commissioned by residential developer Concord CityPlace, recently installed in two new towers near the city's waterfront.

By Randy Gladman for The Ministry of Artistic Affairs.