“There is nothing without the past,” says Sicilian born artist Nino Quartana,”Everywhere I have been before influences me. When you are painting, everything you saw in your life can inspire you. If you like or you don’t like, everything you see you can find in what you do.” With his recent exhibit at Intramuros entitled, “ Landings and Takeoff,” opening last June 14, the fascinating collection brought about by the marriage of his skillful hands and brilliant imagination proved once again that Nino Quartana is indeed a master of memory.
As a master of memory, he not only captures a time and place far removed, but also rather harnesses the emotion, the beauty and the feeling of such memories and renders them into striking works of art that stand as a testament to its personal significance. It is therefore in looking at this past, that paves the way for his future vision, as it is in his contemplation and honoring of the past that became a foundation that he has used and built upon. “Any exhibit is different from the exhibit before. An exhibit has an experience from the exhibit before.”
His latest show features 19 landscape paintings as well as a photo installation, resonant of Philippine cities and landscapes in its aerial perspective. The works mimic the view from an airplane; the moment of entry or perhaps departure from a place that holds within so many memories of a life lived within its streets, admiring the same outlooks that are left behind.
A proud resident of the Philippines for the past 6 years, Nino has had multiple exhibit since entering the local art scene, gracing Filipino audiences with his introspective and captivating works that cover his expertise in all fields of visual arts, from paintings to installations, and everything in between. A seasoned artist, his work does not only display his reflections, and exhibit his unique and colorful vision of the world; it is also a product of his many travels, and inspirations from his home, Palermo.
“When I was very young, more than 30 years ago. I was the first artist in Sicily to make an installation”, he recounts, reminiscing his early beginnings as an artist. After attending Arts High School and Fine Arts at University in Palermo, what followed was a steady stream of group and solo exhibitions that featured his ever-evolving journey both in his creative expression as well as geographically. “The artist for me is a very sensitive person who feels the time and usually the artist, is the mirror of the time.” Since 1979 his works have been showcased in prestigious galleries all over the world, each piece a fresh product of his constant push to create something new. “I’m not a serial artist, I like to change, because if I don’t change in time I am bored.”
It is this restless, his constant need to explore new mediums and new subjects that has created such a vastly diverse body of work, all of which contains radically different medium and new inspirations from the multi-faceted and multi-talented artist.
A man of wide interests, his hunger for art extends beyond visual arts, it also carries over to his fascination for literature as well as, music, cinema and poetry.
“Any artist for all your life, you are painting yourself. It’s a self-portrait of yourself. A personal view of the world. You see the world with your eyes, you feel the world with your heart, with your sensation and you try to translate in your work.” Perhaps that is what makes Nino a fascinating artist, because as he paints himself, he leaves bits and pieces of his fascinating soul and a fascinating mind with each brushstroke and each line. This openness, this constant need to create, express and live exhibits a truly artistic soul that is open, ready and hungry for all the aesthetic beauty that the universe has to offer. To see the world through his eyes is intoxicating because it is to see a world that is more colorful, more diverse and bursting with possibilities than we could never have imagined. And it is in seeing this intoxicating view of a world we never thought possible that makes Nino an artist truly worth following.