REY PARLA (b. 1971 Miami, FL.) is a photo-based artist and filmmaker in Brooklyn, NY. Rey is known for his series of large-scale photographic paintings he calls Scratch-Graphs, inspired by his visual music films. His primary themes are perspective, form, materiality, time, space, abstraction, motion, and story. His work has screened and been exhibited at the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at MDC, Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Paris Photo, The Anti Film Festival, Sioux City Art Center, The Miami International Film Festival: The Avant-Garde Returns, The Cuban Alternative Film & Video Festival, and Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte Roma (MUCA Roma). Parla studied English Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies with a film history & theory certificate at Florida International University. 


Before turning to academia full-time, Parla experimented with theater studies, participating in several plays in Orlando at VCC, Coral Gables with The Mental Floss Theater, and Prometeo at Miami Dade College, and continued independent filmmaking studies at the Alliance Film & Video Cooperative in Miami Beach, and The Independent Feature Project New York through a scholarship. He created several short hand-painted films and a short-narrative movie with screenings at local, regional, and international film & video festivals in Miami, Milan, New York City, and Tokyo. In addition, for several years, he taught arts and humanities to young disadvantaged students in a Miami-Dade County Alternative Ed program for a not-for-profit organization. Parla has also shot and co-directed short collaborative documentaries with other artist friends screened on public access television, galleries,  and social media channels. 


Parla's "Scratch-Graph" images originate in a series of hand-painted films the artist created in the 1990s. Using motion picture stocks (sometimes with photographed subjects), Parla scratches, paints, and collages images in a process that physicalizes and gives visual representation to the metamorphic effect of memory. Parla layers and destroys pieces of film, which he ultimately processes into unique photographic prints, with intersecting lines that recall microchips and urban streetscapes running counterpoint to amorphous blocks of color. Frenetic but also tightly controlled, these images dialogue with Bridget Riley's stripe paintings as much as they do with Man Ray's photographs, Jean Dubuffet's all-over technique, and the abstract films of Stan Brakhage. The manipulation of the pictorial artifact questions the idea of what a picture is and what it can represent, both the physical universe and the viewer's gaze.


Rey collaborates with his younger brother Jose Parla at Parla Studios, where he is proud to be known for photographing and documenting his work. The brothers' collaborative dialogues cemented together during the founding of the InkHeads artist collective in 1992 and the making of two shorts on Super 8mm film with the first being titled: An Experimental Introduction to a Segmented Reality and the second film also by Rey titled: Sporadic Germination, which led the brothers and the group of friends on to other show openings like Sporadic Germination (same title as the 8mm film) and Personal Alphabet in New York City's Lower East Side in 1998.


In 2002, the Parlá brothers and friends collaborated in the group shows entitled: Extensions of the Spectacle in Miami Beach and Chance by Choice in Wynwood, 2003. In addition, they worked together in the multi-media and interdisciplinary collaborative project, The New Grand Tour, which was first exhibited in China and then shown in New York City from 2007-2010. Collaborations such as Parlá Frères at Colette in Paris in 2012 and Wrinkles of the City, Havana, Cuba, with friend and artist JR as part of the 12th Havana Biennial in 2012 also followed.


In 2014 the Parlá brothers collaborated with architecture and design firm Snøhetta on the build-out of their Brooklyn Studio, and in 2015 they produced the experimental documentary film, One: Union of the Senses based on the mural commission of José Parla's painting at One World Trade Center in New York City. The film had its world premiere at The Brooklyn Academy of Music. Rey has co-directed and co-produced short and long-form art documentaries screened at YoungArts, The Maysles Documentary Center, and other venues around the world. At the studio, Rey continues to explore his practice and interests in the intersections of art and various technologies to create unique pieces. His photographs have been published in Forbes, Brooklyn Rail, NY Daily News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Champ Magazine, Cultured Magazine, foreign periodicals, artist monographs, and global underground zines. Parla has also lectured at Savannah College of Art & Design. Rey's work is in private collections in Miami, Tokyo, London, Paris, and L.A.


Ben Rubi Gallery in New York City represents Parla's work. 


~Rey Parla

Brooklyn, NY.


Sources & Notes: 


Some of Rey's favorite artists, friends, teachers, professors, and mentors have had a profound impact on his life and work: Mark Boswell, Luis Gispert, Alfredo Triff, Teresita Fernandez, Michael Snow, Nam June-Paik, Sergio Giral, Jose Parla and Friends (IHS), Jose A. Parla Sr. Dalia Parla, Mika Azegami, Hank Willis Thomas, Christian Mendoza, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, JR, Kaws, Maria Teresa Rojas, Joshua Braun, Stuart Solomon, Alfredo Alfono, Gennie Kopf, Julia A. Gagne, Amanda B. Wilkes, Natasha Tsakos, Bobbie Bell, Paul M. Wegman, Ralph Falcon, Vanessa Gocksch, Pablo Power, Ross Power, Futura2000, Lee Q., Kaws, JR, Maya Daren, Akira Kurosawa, Stan Brakhage, Manon Slome, Bryce Wolkowitz, Robert McKee, Dr. Mel Alexemberg, and so many others. 


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