One imagines José Parlá painting in his sleep – his work evokes the fluidity and lyricism that we imagine only dreams can make, but come to us in the form of nature, love, poetry, and art, in all its incarnations. Parlá’s paintings are like dream-scape montages of memories made, cities travelled, loves won and lost – they are a place where time and space does not exist. His work hurls the viewer backwards and forwards. The past becomes the present, becomes the future, becomes the past. Parlá’s work lives in this ever-constant change and movement: the perennial evolution of the human condition, the Heraclitean ideal.
Recently, José Parlá invited MAKER into his Brooklyn studio, filled with new works for his solo exhibition Character Gestures at OHWOW Gallery in Los Angeles. This new body of work, which is lighter in palette and includes new sculptural works and mono-transfers, highlights the layered textural process that Parlá has become known for and yet, marks a true evolution in his work. Photographed by his brother, the artist and filmmaker, Rey Parlá, the following pages gives us a glimpse of Parlá’s creative process.
"My works, paintings, are time capsules in their hyper-photo realistic conceptual self. Painter's Rags and Mono-Transfers are documents of the process of making paintings. My interest in Character Gestures is to retain the soul, spirit, and breath of a moment of observation and the character of a specific location I crossed in my journeys. The physical work itself is made from imagining the people that have been in these locations before me. I wonder who they are, what do they look like, what are their lives like? Gestures like an engraving on cement, an impression of a footstep, the action it took to leave behind the mark of a torn poster, the writing on a wall. Creation in general has a birth that begins with a spark, an uncontrollable urge, or feeling that is the source for wanting to leave a mark somehow, in life, in history. To assert one's existence is part of that intangible force that gives me inspiration." –Jose Parla