“Jose Parla: Character Gestures” is only the artist's second L.A. show in six years, but his name is familiar to anyone with an interest in the rise of street art that goes beyond the street. Although known to many as a pioneer with the Barnstormers muralizing collective, Parla has long pursued a more private studio practice, making paintings, drawings, prints, and installations that explore the relationship of art history to the more randomized experience of art in the urban environment. His compositions combine an urgent, calligraphic writing that both anchors his thickly layered and textured abstractions and disrupts their organic fray — referencing graffiti and Cy Twombly at the same time. His attentive craftsmanship and fluidly active draftsmanship not only depict but contain in themselves the quasi-architectural effect of city walls festooned with the papers and pigments favored by street artists, and the allegorically analogous build-up of memory in the hearts and minds of the citizens that encounter them. The artist's newest body of work deploys bright color, rich texture, and mixed media in an explosively energetic moment that is ironically the result of years of patient, pensive contemplation. OHWOW, 937 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Sept. 9, 6-9 p.m.; exhibit runs Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru Oct. 22; free. (310) 652-1711. oh-wow.com.

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 9. Continues through Oct. 22, 2011

LA Weekly