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Spotlight: Cuban Artist Tomás Sánchez Contrasts Pristine Landscapes With Wastelands in His First Solo Show in 17 Years

Spotlight: Cuban Artist Tomás Sánchez Contrasts Pristine Landscapes With Wastelands in His First Solo Show in 17 Years
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About the artist: Cuban-born artist Tomas Sanchez (born 1948) paints detailed and uncanny landscapes as an extension of his five-decade practice of meditation. The artist, who lived in Mexico and currently resides in Florida, is widely regarded as one of Cuba’s greatest living artists (gabriel García Márquez and prominent Latin American art scholar Edward J. Sullivan wrote about him). Now, Marlborough New York hosts the first solo exhibition of Sanchez’s work since 2005. Titled “Interior Landscapes,” the gallery collects paintings and drawings made over the past decade. The impressive offering is the product of six years of planning, with many loans from reputable private groups featured prominently. The exhibition consists of two parallel sets of works: surreal, earthly visions with a near-magritte sensibility and ominous images of sprawling garbage heaps reminiscent of the Dutch Vanitas tradition and environmental destruction.

Installation view "Interior Landscaping" 2021. Courtesy of Marlboro New York.

Installation view of “Interior Landscape”, 2021. Courtesy of Marlborough New York.

Why we love it: Sanchez’s highly detailed views are not specific geographical topographies but rather scenes fused from the artist’s imagination. The paintings are often the result of months or even years of work. His utopian visions of nature combine elements from the artist’s private garden and landscapes seen in travel, and while these breathtaking landscapes are better known to the public than his stark, large-scale depictions of rubbish and human consumption, the artist sees these two aspects as two aspects of the same pursuit with Contrasting approaches to enhance the contemporary artist’s approach to landscape painting.

According to the artist: “When I enter a state of meditation, it is as though I am in a forest or a jungle; the mind enters into a great exhilarating state, like a forest full of vigor where you can experience fear, desire, pain—all kinds of emotions and feelings. When I begin to feel that there is a point of inner awareness, Everything goes towards that inner space, that inner river. Everything goes towards that place of calm, this world of calm within the woods where there is a lake,” Sanchez wrote of his work.

between the silence (2015)
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Thomas Sanchez, Entry Silencius (2015).  Courtesy of Marlboro Gallery.

Thomas Sanchez, between the silence (2015). Courtesy of Marlboro New York.

with the door open (2015)
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Thomas Sanchez, The Door Is Open (2015).  Courtesy of Marlboro Gallery.

Thomas Sanchez, with the door open (2015). Courtesy of Marlboro New York.

isolated (2015)
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Thomas Sanchez, Isolated (2015).  Courtesy of Marlboro Gallery.

Thomas Sanchez, isolated (2015). Courtesy of Marlboro New York.

Island, pensive and diagonal cloud (2018)
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Thomas Sanchez.  Diagonal The Island, The Meditator, and the Cloud (2018).  Courtesy of Marlboro Gallery.

Thomas Sanchez, Island, pensive and diagonal cloud (2018). Courtesy of Marlboro New York.

“Tomás Sánchez: Inner Landscape” is shown in Marlboro New York through Saturday, January 22.

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