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

The artist’s work is currently on view at Marlborough New York.

A report from the Artnet Gallery Network.

About the Artist: Cuban-born artist Tomás Sánchez (b.1948) paints detailed, uncanny landscapes as an extension of his five-decade-long meditation practice. The artist, who has lived in Mexico and currently resides in Florida, is widely regarded as one of Cuba’s greatest living artists (his works have been written about by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and leading Latin American art scholar Edward J. Sullivan). Now, Marlborough New York is hosting the first solo exhibition of Sánchez’s works since 2005. Titled “Inner Landscape,” the exhibition brings together paintings and drawings made over the past decade. The impressive show is the product of six years of planning, with many loans from prestigious private collections featuring prominently. Two parallel bodies of work make up the exhibition: surrealistic, Edenic visions of earth with an almost Magritte-like sensibility and ominous depictions of sprawling piles of trash that call to mind the Dutch vanitas tradition and the destruction of the environment. 

Installation view "Inner Landscape" 2021. Courtesy of Marlborough New York.

Installation view of “Inner Landscape,” 2021.

Why We Like It: Sánchez’s highly detailed landscapes are not of specific geographical topographies but rather amalgamated scenes 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 of the artist’s own garden and landscapes witnessed in travel, and while these idyllic landscapes are better known to the public than his stark large-scale depictions of trash and human consumption, the artist sees these as two aspects of the same pursuit with the contrasting approaches as reinforcing the artist’s contemporary approach to landscape painting.

According to the Artist: “When I enter a state of meditation it’s as if I’m in a jungle or a forest; the mind enters into a great exhilarated state, like an exuberant jungle where you can experience fear, desire, anguish—all types of emotions and feelings. When I begin to feel that there’s a point of inner consciousness everything goes toward that inner space, that inner river. Everything goes toward that place of quiet, that realm of tranquility within the forest where there is a lake,” Sánchez has written of his works.

Entre Silencios (2015)

Tomás Sánchez, Entre Silencios (2015). Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.

Tomás Sánchez, Entre Silencios (2015). Courtesy ofMarlborough New York.

Con la puerta abierta (2015)

Tomás Sánchez, Con la puerta abierta (2015). Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.

Tomás Sánchez, Con la puerta abierta (2015). Courtesy of Marlborough New York.

Aislado (2015)

Tomás Sánchez, Aislado (2015). Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.

Tomás Sánchez, Aislado (2015).

Diagonal de isla, meditador y nube (2018)

Tomás Sánchez. Diagonal de isla, meditador y nube (2018). Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.

Tomás Sánchez, Diagonal de isla, meditador y nube (2018).

“Tomás Sánchez: Inner Landscape” is on view at Marlborough New York through Saturday, February 26. 

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