Pink Gorillas in Hell are Gods

Misheck Masamvu
Pink Gorillas in Hell are Gods, 2019
Oil on canvas
Work: 280 x 550 cm

Masamvu’s impressive painting Pink Gorillas in Hell are God, which was selected for Art Joburg’s MAX section in 2019, fills the back wall of the exhibition space. This monumental painting is an example of the tension between abstraction and figuration that has become synonymous with Masamvu’s practice. From the centre of a teeming landscape a group of entwined skeletal figures can be identified. These figures are enveloped by a distorted red figure which takes up significant space within the canvas. While the skeletal figures it envelops appear fragile and delicate, the red figure appears heavy and bodily, its weight pushing back against the seething landscape. Masamvu’s ability as a painter to convey both fragility and bodiliness is beautifully expressed in this complex and intricate painting.