Dr. Anil Gurtoo:

His Paintings; Sagas of water





A painter's style, his use of strokes and lines is the aspect of art most illuminating to the discerning viewer, in it we perceive the relation between inspiration and expression at their closest and most tangible form. Personality appears in a creative individuals language even as it does in his brush work, in the marks he makes on canvas or paper or, what have you. To my eye this is certainly so of Dr. Anil Gurtoo's work, both as a painter and as a poet. Indeed, his very body gestures themselves, to a good extent, reveal his art's practice. There is an inwardness in them. Thus the power of a close and dispassionate observation of the world around him. I found this borne out in his poems on what are deemed lowly creatures, like lizards, or such, as much as I felt it in the details of his compositions, often taking off from the elements of the water and the earth. This singular absorption in common places, real or imagined is what make his art compelling.

I am personally pleased with his sagas of water: of seas, lakes, rivers, of the very moisture that envelops the high lands, which incidentally he also climbs. Medic though Dr. Gurtoo is, he is equally conscientious in the art of the eye and the hand, quite as also of the illuminating word.

Keshav Malik


Poet and Art Critic


Being alone


It is possible to stand back from these paintings. Neither predictable nor expected. They do not slip into any readymade category of nature. They are neither landscapes nor seascapes. Yet they are of the land, the sea, the mountains and the rocks. They are elusive, neither contended nor lyrical nor violently powerful, evading any classification of their emotional impact. All this makes them strangely unsetting. So much so that it is often hard to say whether in looking at the paintings you are one foot or ten feet away. Hanging in mid air or off on the next rise. It is hard to get your bearings in them. You are drawn deeper into them.


Dr. Anil Gurtoo was brought up in Pilani, Rajasthan where his parents taught. His forefathers were from the Himalayas, Kashmir. Though they left Kashmir, the Himalayas did not leave Anil. From a small boys enthusiastic school treks in the Himalayas he has continued as a mountaineer visiting the Himalayas year after year. As a clinician and a teacher of Medicine at Pondicherry, he spent long hours alone at the beaches. Here, time and space vanished; he slowly dissolved into the depths of the deep blue sea, experiencing a continuity with nature, so fundamental to Indian thought. Something within  him was hurled into the whirlpool of ecstasy. The imagery of the sea, the sand and the broken boats. Anil anchors his search in nature. Once settled there he is quite unlike others who paint nature. He starts from within as if located deep within as if located deep within the unrecognizable elements of nature. That is where his mind and spirit converges, well beyond the daily routine of medical work. With his simple techniques, overlapping tones he paints separate elements on the canvas, until the world in his canvas is complete.


Sanjay Roy