Rey Parlá is a Cuban American artist born in Miami and raised partly in Puerto Rico. Parlá studied filmmaking at the Alliance Film and Video Cooperative and earned a B.A. in English literature and a Certificate in Film Studies from Florida International University.
Rey Parlá’s “Scratch-Graph” images have their origin in a series of hand-painted films the artist made in the 1990s. Using motion picture stocks (sometimes with photographed subjects), Parlá scratches, paints on, and collages images in a process that physicalizes and gives visual representation to the metamorphic effect of memory. Parlá layers and destroys pieces of film which he ultimately processes into unique photographic prints, with intersecting lines that recall microchips as well as urban streetscapes running in 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, with Jean Dubuffet’s all-over technique as well as the abstract films of Stan Brakhage. The manipulation of the pictorial artifact questions the idea of what a photograph is and what it can represent, both of the physical universe and of the viewer’s gaze.
Parlá has lectured at Savannah College of Art & Design. His short films and documentaries have screened at several films festivals, and his photography has been featured in Forbes, Brooklyn Rail, the New York Daily News, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Champ magazine, and Cultured magazine, and is part of several international private collections, including the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection.