Unseen Predators Lurk in the Depths of Grego Gleiwitz’s Dark Paintings

In a world where everyone is either hunter or hunted, if you aren’t sure where you stand then chances are you’re the latter. Disquiet and uncertainty pervade “Predator,” Gregor Gleiwitz’s first solo exhibition at HUS Gallery in London. The show’s title draws from the 1987 eponymous science fiction film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, about a special ops rescue mission-turned-extraterrestrial-manhunt. Using richly lathered opaque colors and loose, robust lines, Gleiwitz’s looming oil paintings on paper leave one wondering what is real and what is only a figment of the imagination.

Gleiwitz’s lush brushstrokes in greens, blues, browns, and reds, in works such as 16.11.2014 (2014), lend the impression of peering through a cavernous foreground into deeper, murkier depths, while 11.11.2014 (2014) is not an inhabited space so much as a living, heaving beast. Should you think your mind is playing tricks on you, there is no mistaking the gleaming, red eye in 13.11.2014 (2014). Gleiwitz’s subjects are characteristically obscure, but those in “Predator” bear new menace. As in earlier series, Gleiwitz employs the dates of execution of his works as titles. These timestamps are temporal puncture wounds and they are pretty much the only way that Gleiwitz allows viewers to pin him down. 

If Gleiwitz’s paintings resist abstraction, they never fully succumb to figuration either. His paintings hover in a state of limbo, that netherworld lingering on the brink of hell. There is dark pleasure, too, in trying to parse Gleiwitz’s vocabulary, and the indiscernibility of his subjects draws one into the thrill of the pursuit of an unseen enemy. In “Predator,” Gleiwitz is master of his universe, and if you still can’t figure out who the prey is, well then, you’re it.

Gregor Gleiwitz: Predator” is on view at HUS Gallery, London, Nov. 24–Dec. 18, 2014.

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