Language is primordial in Walter Swennen’s practice. A poet before becoming a painter, Swennen often uses words, letters, and symbols to underscore a serious practice that tirelessly probes into the problems and limitations of painting. Swennen’s indiscriminate subject matter is often derived from popular culture, magazines or advertisements but could easily come from everyday objects that catch his eye. Swennen insists on the absolute autonomy of painting. He neither seeks an emotive response nor does he invite interpretation. Unpretentious, playful and often slyly humorous, Swennen’s works are deliberate and rigorous explorations into the essence of painting that cement his place, alongside Luc Tuymans and Raoul De Keyser, at the top echelons of Belgian artists today. At Gladstone through October 28.