David B. Smith Gallery is proud to present They Devoured Everything by Boulder, CO and Havana, Cuba-based artist Gabriel Sanchez. In his first solo exhibition with the gallery, Sanchez’s intimate portrait-focused paintings distill his experience as a Cuban-American artist by capturing the raw emotional reality of a generation of young Cubans steeped in struggle.

The notion of togetherness—physical proximity, romantic or familial bonds, national or political affiliations, and subcultures—stand in opposition to the notion of solitude. However, each of these ideas helps define the other; the space between these concepts make each more relatable and comprehensible. Set to the tune of widespread unrest so great that those ensconced describe the social climate as “cannibalistic,” the bonds created with one another stand not only as a support but a defense against ruin.

There is palpable affection in the rendering of Sanchez’s subjects, one that carefully exposes the vulnerability and strength of people whose very survival is threatened by political and social upheaval in Cuba. Painted between the Gabriel Sanchez, Amor Eterno, 2023, oil on canvas, 20 x 26 in (50.8 x 40.6 cm) shadow or curvature of the body is a meditation on the inter- and intra-personal. The question of who each of us are in relation to our friends, family, lovers, and to ourselves comes to the surface, heightened by survival instinct.

Hanging between starkly different worlds, Sanchez endeavors to build empathy between his audience and his subjects, many of whom have fled or are presently trying to flee Cuba. Despite the desperation of many in his community, in his own words, “My paintings tell stories of love, desire, frustration, friendship, doubt, and hope.” In They Devoured Everything, Gabriel Sanchez generously unpacks private moments shared with his subjects, revealing their tenderness and resilience.