José Parlá (born 1973) started painting in the early 1980s, exhibiting his works in the streets of Miami. The Brooklyn based artist has been exhibiting internationally since 2000. Parlá is a polyglot of stories and memories who engages in the sub-cultures and values of urban life, and shares the natural world of the elsewhere community he observes and documents by creating a body of work that is at once universal, engaging, glorious, and mind-expanding to see.
Primarily a painter of murals, paintings, and works on paper, José Parlá also produces installations, video, sculpture, and photographic works that explore or respond to urban landscapes. Parlá’s large-scale compositions resemble city walls that, like palimpsests or psychogeographic maps, have accrued years of ephemera, posters, and fliers; he blends curvy gestures, calligraphy, and personal inscriptions with blurred colour fields, using brushes, markers, spray paint, and sometimes fragments of fliers and posters. Parlá has produced several public commissions, including a giant mural at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. “With making an abstract painting,” he has said, “I felt that what I was doing and what I’m still doing is translating the many different cultures and many different languages that I’m confronting.”