Magazine article Artforum International

Jose Parla: BRAND NEW GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Jose Parla: BRAND NEW GALLERY

Article excerpt

Jose Parla's personal grand tour of Italy extended north to south through seven cities--Milan, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Matera, Bari, and Lecce--whose urban plans reveal profound differences in land, politics, and culture. The route was echoed in the artist's ten new canvases on view here. Fragments of walls, which Parla found and picked up along his travels, and other materials were superimposed in complex and harmonious abstract compositions.

In these works, the artist has a dual viewpoint. From a distance, the viewer could grasp the totality of the painting and the formal play among its constituent elements. Close up, however, the canvas once again became a wall of overlapping accumulation, each work evoking the path of discovery that led to the various materials with which its surface is dense. Proceeding almost to the point of touching the canvas, the viewer could perceive its life and depth.

The artist's compositional strategy is likewise one of stratification. Mirrors, Italy (all works 2017), the largest piece, which also gave the show its title, is a multilevel surface where scraps of advertising posters torn from public walls interact with acrylic paint, ink, enamel, and plaster. The viewer's gaze was drawn to a focal point of a raised eyebrow and one wide-open eye, a segment of face ripped from a poster. Around this eye, which looks out to the viewer, were small fragments of material buildup, as if the apparent and controlled chaos of the surface were converging toward this mysterious decentralized point. …

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