Cuban artist Alan Manuel Gonzalez once found it inconceivable to be showing his art outside of Cuba. He has described his paintings as the result of the inescapable circumstance of being created there. Today, censorship in Cuba is the most intense in the western hemisphere. Gonzalez relies on the use of metaphor and surrealism to express both his love for his country and disdain for its problems. His recent exhibition “Contained Metaphors”, which showed recently at Lois Lambert Gallery & Gallery of Functional Art in Santa Monica, California, focused on this idea of inescapability and containment. His paintings portray tropical jungles, islands and Cuban landmarks inside of things like glass jars and water droplets. Being a devout Catholic, Gonzalez also incorporates religious themes and images of cathedrals into his pieces. In the 16th century, the English navy, among others, used bottle messages to share information about enemy positions. With this in mind, one could see Gonzalez’ paintings like his own messages in a bottle to the world outside of Cuba.