four letters that enclose the fascinating world of inspiration, genius and emotion, with the aim of communicating and surprising!

Between painting and sculpture, between ceramics and photography, passing through design and fashion, art has the ability to be universal, intimate and totalising.

Intrinsic properties of the great artistic universe, enclosed in a single name: Massimo Onnis!

His art comes out of space and time, capturing the senses and as a contemporary expressionist, Onnis imprints emotions and sensations involving the viewer and transporting him into his life path. Works that tell the story of a man who faces art and is captured by it.

These are authentic masterpieces where Massimo Onnis interacts with the subject, studies it, respects it and recreates it to tell the story of the present reality, with the critical eye of a citizen of the world! His works, ranging on a palette without limits, describe figures, silhouettes and sights of different cultures.

An inexhaustible artistic vein, always projected on the world scene, through the deep knowledge of the artistic avant-gardes that he recreates to achieve his goal: to narrate his life, the world around and to excite.

He creates, interprets and reinterprets his emotions in front of a landscape and a rough sea.  These are works enclosed in a particular structure, the result of years of reflection and experimentation.

A unique style that goes beyond the avant-garde and becomes avant-garde itself, challenging styles and techniques to become both style and technique.

It is an infinite evolution of an artistic flair that, like water, is free and projected on the world scene with its amazing and unmistakable personality.

A theory that has become a certainty.

Dr. Daniela Madau, Critic and art historian. Curator of the M.I.D.I. Museum

Massimo Onnis  – From reality to innocence

In the mid-nineteenth century when the great movement of European painting met photography, at that time, it definitively freed itself from its role as a faithful witness of reality to finally become a representation of the Ego, of Man AND of his passions.

The beauty of nature, the careful and real representation of reality, gives way to a profound exploration of the emotions and consciousness of society, which the creativity of new artists declines into free and anti-academic FORMS WHICH ARE immediate, instinctive, direct.

The painting and art of Massimo Onnis, his study of forms, chromatic and tonal effects, perfectly illustrate this transition from the convention to genius, keeping intact the constant search for balance and harmony typical of the best European and American informal tradition.

The expressionism that comes to the synthesis of signs and brushstrokes, dynamic and immediate in the drafting, as well as calibrated and scrupulous in the compositional complexity, becomes a unique stylistic feature, strongly characterized by a deep culture of abstraction.

Reality becomes an idea, a suggestion, a powerful and sudden cue for reflection and from the works of Onnis ancestral states of mind are unleashed, a universal subconscious of osmosis between man and nature, between Being and spirit.

In the interplay of light and reflection, the symbolism of the desired truth is also concealed, and the revelation of the image is filtered through inlays and engraved scratches until the essence is brought to light.

The figure, often present in his works, becomes an icon deconstructed, decomposed, unhinged by reality, genetically derived from an ancestral and unstoppable magma, just like other representations of the artist, born from the land and sea of his region, Sardinia, so ancient and mysterious.

Massimo Onnis’ art is not, therefore, only a reflection of the world observed with his eyes and his sensitivity, but also a mirror of contemporary times, in a constant pursuit of identity and truth, sometimes of hope and illusion.

Painting, as well as photography, for the artist, assumes a salvific value, representing a possible utopia of further rebirths, new and unexpected ways to make your spirit flow in the world and beauty, the divinity of Man emerge strengthened, unattainable, if not with the whiteness of innocence.

Guido Folco


Massimo Onnis, the artist of the time machine

During a rainy day while you are riding your car did you ever get the feeling that the landscape around you was changing all at once?

The works of Massimo Onnis make me imagine this feeling.

Walking through the streets, as usual, time passes, the landscape and people change.

The signs left by the brushes and spatulas on Massimo’s canvases are so strong they can actually represent the speed of time. The time that flows can be either fast or slow… It all depends on the artist’s hand.

The dynamic imprints of Massimo’s brushes resemble the movement of the windscreen wiper… as fast as the time that passes among the people in the city. Massimo, with his artistic flair, is able to easily manoeuvre time on canvas and to project us into a journey through time.

I would call him the artist of the time machine.

Yoko Watanabe Art Director M.A.F. Gallery


Emerging Palettes: Massimo Onnis

The first thing that comes to mind when reading the biography of this original Sardinian artist is the versatility with which he expresses his creativity: he is a painter, sculptor, designer, photographer, fashion designer, ceramist, performer, installer, video maker. In short, a real artistic polyhedron, almost as if what he feels he has to tell cannot be said through a single form or within a single genre, but adopt them all to give a greater echo to his voice. And the same indomitable nature is clearly visible in paintings where one genre cannot define it because he mixes them to create a completely personal one; he adopts a style based on the subject he wants to portray but then, surprisingly, there are two of them in the same painting and then he returns, with the one immediately after, to a single genre.

Abstract when talking about universal concepts, as in Present and Future, where the spatula blurs the contours and makes undefined what is, precisely, present because no one can know how it will become in the future, or in the work “Crime scene do not cross”, where the background of an undefined city looms over the characters in the foreground intent on exploring and discovering a mystery that is perhaps the most human of life, where you are alone despite being surrounded by cities and palaces, alone with their fears and their ghosts; then moves on to the most intuitive conceptual, in which the title becomes explanatory of what the artist hides through the brush, paintings such as “Water, the origins of life” as well as  “Fire, source of light and heat”, where it is clear the research for a deeper meaning of what the eye sees. 

Water is not only water but also the source of life because it reminds us of the womb that surrounds and protects the new life, and the element of fire is not seen within the negative meaning of the destructive element but as a benevolent element that heats and illuminates. Finally, Onnis surprises in the paintings in which the human figure is the protagonist, paintings in which he discovers its figurative side while remaining abstract, managing to create an incredible mix between seen and imagined, between defined and indefinite, between reality and concept that completely envelops the viewer: Woman of Senegal.

On tiptoe over the city, here are the paintings that seem to speak directly to the soul, scratching with the images and attracting the eye beyond them, almost like a director who captures the attention with the foreground but then moves the fire in the background.

Marta Lock


In Massimo Onnis’ a deep expressive need of the natural element persists, which through the dynamism of the colour becomes the true essence of his creative “I”. Painting for the Artist is a lyrical manifestation of feelings, which is why we are enchanted in front of his paintings.

He possesses the extraordinary gift of colour such that each of his works involves us from the first impact. A pictorial language that characterizes all his vast artistic production for the chromatic richness in which we find the harmony of his infinite figurations. A figurative atmosphere that unfolds in a complexity of themes: from landscapes to existential interpretations, always highlighting its expressive potential in a surreal way with the power of color.

In his landscapes he does not represent the perfect reality, but loves to simplify the forms, bringing back on the support scenarios from which his spirituality emerges.

On the pictorial space, shapeless forms have imprinted that act on the various perspective planes, evoking the poetry of a rare sensitivity of mind ready to transmit emotions. Therefore, comes to our attention this gallery of silent images from his dream world, through impulses of chromatic vibrations in which we perceive the communicative capacity of a complete “Artist”.

Emotionality thus becomes a hidden treasure in the everyday life, contemplated in Nature and imprinted in her heart to immortalize the various beauties of views. A narration with pictorial wisdom and humoral strength.

In his well-constructed research, we can also observe the relationship between Art and Life that leads to the continuous investigation of events that often involve man, changing the course of his existence and it is in this regard that Massimo Onnis reaches the peak of his artistic expression with his work “Groundzero despair”; a masterpiece selected for the exhibition of the First Biennial of Palermo.  This pictorial interpretation is distinguished by the role that the feelings of the painter have assumed in transmitting, with his prestigious brush, the perceptions of suffering experienced in front of the dramatic images of that September 11 whose nightmare has remained indelible today for all Humanity.

Fear, horror and unconscious liberation of the crucial moment, are the state of mind caught in the attitude of the victims the instant before falling into the void and immortalized with such a pictorial performance to arouse emotion every time you admire the work.


Narrative essentiality of an artist, “Master” of colour and great interpreter of afflicted tormenting.

Prof.Anna Francesca Biondolillo

Director of the Scientific Committee 1◦ International<br /> Biennial of Palermo</p> <p>

Throughout the ages, artists have grappled with identity and contemporaneity.

Those who have managed to mix with a universal and understandable language are remembered and considered in the history books.

When I met Massimo, in his studio in Villacidro, I was immediately struck by his cultural background and his ability to deal with any subject with absolute mastery.

“Villacidrese”  Sardinian by birth, “Nuorese” inhabitant of Adoption and at the same time citizen of the world from head to toe, you can find all this in his works and Sardinia becomes one of the invisible cities of Italo Calvino. He is a total artist because he has a 360-degree vision of art. Painter, Sculptor, Designer, Photographer, Fashion Designer, Ceramist, Installer, Performer, Videomaker. a RARE TYPE OF artist, 

His works are travelling the world in international collections and in the great capitals of contemporary art. He is present in the biggest art events and in the most prestigious cultural events in the biggest cities Dubai, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver, London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Kiev, Rome, Milan, Venice, Madrid, Taiwan.

Pearls exist even without fishermen and he would have won the law of gravity anyway.

I was lucky enough to find him in the wooded sea of the forests of Villacidro .

Thanks again for providing prestige to Villacidro and Sardinia. 

A special thanks from me and from the whole Dessì Foundation for the works he has donated to us.

Salvatore Angelo Spano

President of the Dessi Foundation

“Seeing the paintings, but above all seeing Massimo ONNIS, an artist from Nuoro, painting, gave me a sense of joy and admiration.

When I saw him stylistically animate a painting in such a short time I realized that I had in front of me a real Artist with a capital “A”.

An artist with unique transparency and purity, in his brushstrokes I noticed a stunning simplicity of execution, the colour values are remarkably valid that can be compared to artists with more proven experience.

Rarely had I been present at the creation of a painting as it happened recently at the National Competition of Marina di Ravenna, not so much for the way, but for the quality, the strength impressed on the color with brushstrokes without rethinking violent contrasts between cold and warm colors, a total vibration continues, where the sign left, perfectly amalgamated, blends poetically throughout the painting, emanating sensations of fine workmanship, recalling the Impressionist period.

Each object is brought back to its typical form and stripped of its Anecdotal elements. In the landscapes the hills extend in great masses, the houses appear as warm dwellings, the skies become quiet horizons, in front of which the appearance of the landscape rises quietly. Even the figures, in the rigorous simplification of their bodies, share something of the lineage of the archaic. Animals, masks become simple images of their visible appearance, like the animals of the ancient Egyptians. I was totally fascinated by this young artist, who was introduced to me personally by his friend Vincenzo Zoccola Zembrano from Naples, at the National Competition of the Golden Brush, who I spoke with him pleasantly for a few hours …

A well-educated young man, intelligent, skilled in the art of conversation as well as in his way of painting, in him there is the incarnation of a strong and hard-working man, like the people of his Sardinia, who often and willingly emphasize with words and pictorial paths.

One immediately understands, from his way of expressing himself and from his painting, that there is the aspiration to trace a personal path in Italian painting. Just as the French Impressionists did, that is making Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of museums. That’s why I deeply believe in the painting of Massimo ONNIS.

With a friendly embrace I expressed the desire to have a work of his as soon as possible.

I wish Massimo ONNIS will get the best results in the Italian pictorial firmament… I am sure that the road is worthily traced”.

Paolo Brambilla


“I met the artist Massimo ONNIS, from Nuoro, several years ago, at the “Marina” Award in Ravenna. I must confess that, since then, I was impressed by the colors, by the “lights” that made his works particularly interesting. Even the scanning of the perspective planes was very valid. Over time, at the last editions of the “Marina” Award, I noticed that his painting style had acquired chromatic values very dear to the neo-figuration. We can immediately see that his experience in the field of figurative arts has made his ties with his native land more intimate and participatory. His expressive modules are very valid.

Delicate his “Nature Death”. His childhood memories are very precious, making his landscape “glimpses” more evocative and poetic. My warmest congratulations for his works and my sincere congratulations for the progress achieved so far.”

Vincenzo Zoccola Zambrano

Reaching the zero degree, a significant point of equilibrium for himself is what Massimo Onnis wants to achieve and transmit through his painting. 

However, this principle of creation and destruction is an inexhaustible source of enquiry on the part of the painter who, for his art, made up of multifaceted elements, chooses to create canvases loaded with the colours of Sardinia, a land full of archaic and magical traditions.

The colour shifts across on the canvas, the figure is decomposed but recognizable and the forms that inhabit his paintings resemble rock images that are held on the surface.

The format chosen by the artist is not only the classical one but among his favourite ones he chooses the round one that in its perfect form is ready to welcome, from time to time, the different degrees of his painting that can find its ideal place in various places of everyday life. The street, the rural and family villages of his land, also representing feelings and hopes.

The figures in the painting of Massimo Onnis, are not defined and recognizable, they are black shapes that intertwine and become symbols of the multiple feelings that the artist expresses in his modulated canvases. In the paintings dedicated to the naked women, the figures placed in plastic poses express strength and impertinence, so that our gaze rests on them, gaining the main focus of the picture. These women, so carnal, are contrasted with backgrounds of varied colours.

The painter’s native land, as we have already seen, is often encountered in his work, interpreted not only through the use of a wide and material brushstroke but more often through a spatula filled with warm color.

Thus, Sardinia returns to the traditional motifs of the island’s culture, taking on even more local connotations when the masks of the Ottana carnival appear in Nuoro, or the typical costumes of Ollolai, rather than the castle of Burgos, therefore images full of symbolic values in which sometimes you can feel the echo of myths and beliefs of a world not so distant. Same goes for the figures belonging to the Nuragic mythology, which tell us of the origins of this land. Small villages that seem to come out of the waves of a blue sea, fresh and clear. The sea of a land totally linked to this element is declined in various figures and memories.

In addition to the beautiful beaches and jagged coastlines, there is also the hinterland of the wild island and its green pastures, where we seem to perceive the smell of myrtle and enjoy the beautiful views visible from Mount Linas.

Another subject to which Massimo Onnis dedicates various works are still lives and subjects that, although simple, express a great force of feelings.

A great love for simple things which represent irreplaceable values. What flows continuously before his eyes is captured and the canvas becomes a web where such impressions, dreams, memories and everything he loves is visible to all. Love that manifests itself in the loving message that it expresses for its places.

A stratified painting, as can be seen from the use of pigment, which radiates in solar colours and is as warm as a prism that breaks them down. A sign that relies on the known and on everyday life and that gives the viewer a rich gift of traditions and sensations that make us discover an ancient and distant land.

Dr. Teresa Francesca Giffone


The revival of the ancient values inherent in the painting of Massimo Onnis is appreciated by me, especially for the composition of some critical notes on his works.

The poetic vein that hovers in the neo-Romantic atmosphere derives from an uncommon sensitivity in his approach to the natural world, to the landscape, to secular traditions and also to the customs and traditions of his land. Rich of primordial charm with its wonderful scenery, Sardinia, with its sea and coasts, acquires liveliness and freshness, thanks to the rather moved and variegated palette of the Artist.

Sublimated by an exceptional capacity for synthesis, in his painting he seems to transcend the reality to become a symbol of expressive perfection.

The blue of the sky, the shaking of the waves, seem to kidnap you and transport you to planets of other galaxies, away from the swarming and deafening noise of our metropolis and even our suburbs.

One approaches astonished at the silent “auras” of ancient, magical, “enchanted” villages, clinging to the still uncontaminated wild mountains of Barbagia or the vibrant “notes” of ancient instruments, rediscovered by the interesting continuum of his artistic-cultural operation.

More and more fascinated by the phantasmagorical world of Nature, Massimo ONNIS seems to seek, with a certain patience, the slow budding of a flower or reproduce on canvas the hiss of the wind or let you relive the myth of the sirens with their melodious song.

You cannot search for these “nugae” – would say the poet Catullus – if you are not convinced that the beauty of Creation should be enjoyed, admired and preserved in all its aspects, even the least flashy.

The taste for Beauty, it is worth underlining, in his works it is not an end in itself, but implicitly it results as one for those who so research the splendor of light and colour.

In the smoothness of the tones, in the sunshine in which the artist plunges the mountains, the placid waters, the houses or the “silent natures” – as Maestro Giorgio De Chirico preferred to define them – love must be sought, the lyrical inspiration that pervades him in the moment of creation.

The sincerity and spontaneity of his inspiration result as never before sublimated by the touches, light and velvety, by the “lights and shadows” that cover the whole of his work.

The artist Massimo ONNIS, through “his” colours, restores in our hearts the ancient fables, myths and legends of the past, linked to our native land. And along the path of the “footprints” , he “pretends” to be the discoverer of the symbolic masks of Ottana, that contemporary society seems to have deliberately buried forever in its “I”.

However, Maestro Massimo ONNIS immortalizes them on canvas, proposing them again in a very sober and delicate context, with refined green-yellow-gold colours, just as they once appeared at Carnival parties.

It is therefore, his artistic and cultural operation of great importance for having brought to light today the thousands of “ghosts” of the past, who have “populated” the imagination and inspiration of aedi and singers of the popular tradition of his Sardinia.

I am not surprised by the excellent results obtained by the Master because his emotional participation is very lively, sincere and the quality of his painting is really remarkable. He hands down to the story pages of his secret diary, moments of his “feeling”, of his “artistic belief”, but always closer to the spirit of his people, strong willful, hardworking, brave and always careful to defend themselves from the pitfalls of man, thirsty for power and money, who could even more cause irreparable damage to “his” dear mountains, however harsh and impervious: they are still very dear to her. 

In my opinion, the artist Massimo ONNIS is one of the most exquisite and sensitive voices in the panorama of the national figurative arts.

Prof. Antonio Malmo