Haunch of Venison presents “Broken Language,” itsx first solo exhibition of work by New York-based artist José Parlá. Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Parlá’s works highlight the layered stories embedded in urban environments. His practice of combining of personal text, found objects and graffiti styles into large paintings and site-specific installations results in expressive works that relate to the legacies of calligraphy, modernism and abstract expressionism. The works on view include a selection of new paintings, works on paper, photographs, and sculpture spread throughout the gallery’s three spaces.
Parlá’s works are a direct reflection of the experiences that surrounded their creation. Wandering through the city, the Parlá sketches and documents images, text and images that catch his eye, then later filters these encounters into his works. His paintings become diaries, into which he writes the polyphonous story of the urban environment, embedding the interconnected lines of his personal travelings and the multiplicity of urban identities.
The pieces of language that do surface in Parlá’s works are comparable to the experience of language in general, exhibiting the gradual process of addition and erasure that defines a linguistic system and vocabulary. The urban environment then, through Parlá’s eyes, becomes a metaphor for identity, an assemblage of fragments that gradually creates the final work.
Nearly cacophonous in their compiled meanings and tongues, the works underlines language’s capacities both to unite and to divide. However, this “broken” language can also be seen as a positive force; its fractions multiply the possibilities for new modes of communication. Parlá is able to channel this seemingly disassociated chaos into an exciting and fresh visual language, all the while reminding us of its derived source material.
José Parlá has exhibited internationally with major shows in London, New York and Paris. Recently Parlá was included in the 11th Havana Biennial and has had work added to the collection of the British Museum.
Exhibtion Page: [Haunch of Venison]
Artist’s Page: [José Parlá]
Video: “José Parlá: Broken Language, The Artist Takes Us Out of the Gallery and on to London’s Concrete Streets” [NOWNESS]