Carlos Quintana’s Passions

/ 1 June, 2015

When facing the work of Carlos Quintana (Havana, 1966), we have no option but to be moved before the strength and energy it sheds. The emancipation of color, the freedom of gesture, the chaotic sensation the canvas retraces, together with a peculiar gallery of strange characters, make even the less sensitive spectator stop before his paintings. He achieves it, first of all, because of his profound control over a remarkable pictorial exercise which he has been developing in an autodidactic way for thirty years. Although he enrolled in the San Alejandro Fine Arts Academy, he only studied there for a few months, so he began to train in the daily practice and through direct contact with other artists.

He exhibited his works for the first time in the final days of the eighties, a very significant stage in contemporary Cuban art because of the way it became formally and conceptually renovated. However, he did not create an extensive body of work in Cuba because, like many artists of his generation in the beginning of the following decade, he went to Spain, where he lived for several years. It was during this period that he became internationally known, especially in art fairs in Spain and the United States, as well as for his exhibitions in galleries in Venezuela, France, Germany, Costa Rica and Mexico, among others.

Over the years, Quintana has achieved an unmistakable style, a way of doing which distinguishes him and reveals his need to paint. His deeply gestural painting transports us to another world inhabited by truncated heads, enigmatic beings, and accompanied by symbols and attributes that send us to the great concerns of the individual. A chaotic environment in which there is no possible order, stripped from all spatial reference, frequently prevails; human and animal forms, or halfway among them, wander on the surface. All this together with a rather sarcastic, ironic humor, perhaps impregnated by the irreverent tone artists took on at the end of the eighties. (…)

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