The present work is characteristic of the "mind-scapes" which established Tanguy as one of the central figures of the Surrealist movement. Strange biomorphic shapes inhabit a world which resembles a desert wasteland or an ocean floor; the foreground plane is deep and the horizon ambiguous. While Tanguy's style is illusionistic, his imagery is relentlessly abstract: his forms are rarely recognizable objects, and even when anthropomorphic are never distinguished by anatomical details. One motif suggests the next in what has been called a "spontaneous generation of forms" (J.T. Soby, exh. cat., Tanguy Retrospective, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1955, p. 17).
Although Tanguy had arrived by 1927 at the vision and technique which would carry him through the next three decades, works from the late 1930's like Quelques gestes bear the unmistakeable stamp of his travels earlier in the decade.
After his African voyage [in 1930], Tanguy usually substituted mineral forms for the vegetable ones used in his earlier works. His colour became more complex and varied...he made more and more frequent use of one of his most poetic inventions--the melting of land into the sky, one image metamorphosed into another, as in the moving-picture technique known as lap-dissolve. The fixed horizon was now often replaced by a continuous and flowing treatment of space, and in many paintings...it is extremely difficult to determine at what point earth becomes sky or whether the objects rest on the ground or float aloft. The ambiguity is intensified by changes in the density of the objects themselves, from opaque to translucent to transparent, creating a spatial double entendre. (ibid., pp. 17-18)