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.
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.
and Art Critic
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.
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.