Parlá's second solo show in Japan will showcase a series of his most recent paintings that were made simultaneously over a one-year period. The series is a celebration of children that also makes reference to the artist's own childhood and memories of young adult life. In addition, these works also allude to the importance of exposing these "small golden suns" to art.
Parlá's works are known for their unique style, which intertwines rhythmic linework with painstakingly accumulated layers and traces on the canvas in an innovative manner. "Small Golden Suns" is also the title of the large-scale painting on display at this exhibition that combines all of these distinct features, exemplifying the unique traits of Parlá's work. With a diverse output that encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, and video, Parlá's artistic engagement is similar to the surface make-up of city walls in public space. The memory-like textures move like traces of the past that weave themselves into the present by translating abstract gestures and calligraphic characters into social signifiers and visual language.
Concerned about the state of children around the world today, as well as feeling the need to celebrate the simple fact of their existence, Parlá is constantly reminded of his own adventurous, imaginative, and free-spirited childhood. The inspiration he draws from these childhood experiences and the significance of the creative magic that each child brings forth into this world brings Parlá into a global dialogue that seeks to confront burgeoning issues of migration, the environment, education, and freedom.
"Art can heal," he says, "but it can do so much more than that." For Parlá, art is an adventure that can be shared by people of all ages, stirring their emotions and telling stories. "Art can change your day for the better. Both children and adults are positively affected by art in many of the same ways," says the artist. "Art can give you a little push, or sometimes a giant leap of the imagination to be able, if even for a moment, to escape the negative patterns we see in daily life around the world today."
Parlá's works have an immediacy that allows the viewer who perceives them to establish an instant connection. They open up a dialogue of introspection that reflects back on the viewer's own life story, producing many possible open readings of these works. Parlá was born in Miami in 1973. An alumnus of the Savannah College of Art and Design and New World School of the Arts, he is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Although Parlá has taken on a wide range of public projects both in the US and abroad, he has attracted particular attention in recent years for a massive 27 meter-long mural installed in the lobby of The One World Trade Center in New York, another mural at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and a collaborative project produced together with French artist JR for the 11th Havana Biennial. Some of his most recent solo exhibitions were held at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), Mary Boone Gallery (New York), Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery (New York), and Haunch of Venison (London). Parlá has won international acclaim as an artist who has inherited the legacy of American Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Joan Mitchell, creating mostly large-scale works inspired by such themes as identity within a global society, migration, and imagination.