This painting, a portrait of the artist's wife, explores notions of sensuality. The subject wears a shawl, signifying chastity; yet the warm color scheme represents heat, or "caliente"—which means "turned on" in Cuban. Likewise, the title refers to the locked door in the background—symbolic of self-restraint.

① Artwork:


This painting, a portrait of the artist's wife, explores notions of chastity and sensuality. The warm color scheme represents heat, or "caliente," which in Cuba means "turned on." Draped over her shoulders, the subject wears a shawl—which signifies chastity in the historical art canon. Yet the garment reveals her chest in an inviting way. At the same time, the figure wears a necklace with a pendant of the Virgin of Guadalupe that represents the sacredness and innocence of the subject. In the immediate background there is an oxidated lock, or "yale" in Spanish, to a door—symbolic of self-restraint. The figure looks intensely at the viewer with deep loving eyes.

This painting explores how proximity and union, ever-present aspects of Cuban society, inform notions of solitude and intimacy. This composition depicts a mundane event, an everyday scene of island life—a snapshot where the distractions of urban life are minimized, bringing the viewer's attention to the present moment.  

Sanchez's oil portrait paintings, carefully rendered with classical technique, focus on Cuban current events and politics. The artist's use of realism produces “an authentic and inescapable illusion of existence” that brings the viewer into a close relationship with Sanchez's subjects—the artist's fiancée, family, friends and acquaintances. These figures embody the warm-yet-stoic nature of Cuban culture that has changed little over time; each figure is a reminder to the world of what has been lost. Sanchez excels at creating scenes of togetherness and social unity.


24 inches
30 inches

③ Artist:

Gabriel Sanchez

Gabriel Sanchez’s oil portrait paintings examine Cuban current events and politics. The artist employs a classical technique, achieving a realism that brings viewers into a close relationship with his paintings’ subjects. Sanchez creates scenes of togetherness and social unity populated by figures drawn from his own life—characters that serve as exemplars of the warm yet stoic nature of Cuban culture.

Gabriel Sanchez:
Yale, 2022
Oil on canvas
30.0 × 24.0 inches /