“His powerful paintings, drawings and writing evoke historical styles linked to expressionism and surrealism, yet like many contemporary artists, he refuses to be defined by a particular medium or style."
“But it is in the films that Gittoes merges all of his interests. It is here that we most fully experience his concern for the fate of art and artists, for the fragile and resilient power of love, for the impossibility of defining good and evil in a world of ever-encroaching hatred and greed, and for the possibility of redemption – not in some vague promised afterlife, but in the work one does in the here and now.”
- David A. Ross, former director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and ICA, Boston, and deputy director of the Berkely Art Museum Long Beach Museum of Art, California.
“Gittoes travels light and alone, armed only with drawing paper and pencils. The people he meets who are often traumatised by the situation they are living or dying through, respond, he finds, more positively to a draughtsman with a pencil than a cameraman…He gets to know …their predicaments, incorporating their stories into the margins of his drawings, along with his own observations. It thus become a sort of illustrated diary [to which he refers for later drawings and paintings].”
“… his art goes to …the relationship between morality and beauty”
“…he was a pioneer in promoting the gradual convergence of Indigenous Australiana and Euro-Australian art.”
“He is the greatest Australian artists since …William Dobell”
- Professor Bernard Smith, distinguished Australian art historian, founding director of Sydney University, Power Institute, past president of Australian Academy of the Humanities.
Kiss of Death (2022)
“Gittoes work is unflinching in [its] scrutiny of the times in which we live.” [Inspired by] the tradition of Goya, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann…it is a statement about the horror of war and violence, and an affirmation of the beauty of being human even at the point of death.”
"His images pry open the door to a conversation about what it is to be human at the very limits, where petty myths, tired illusions and worn out symbols collapse.”
“…in so many ways he is attempting to create art in ‘the age of terrorism’…”
“As an eyewitness he invites the viewer to sit with profound moral and ethical issues about complicity in injustice.”
- Dr Rod Pattenden, Australian curator and art historian and chair of the Blake Society that coordinates the annual Blake Prize, that explores the spiritual and religious imagination in Australian art.
“ [He is] …an artist of great consequence. His visual ideas and insights are a
result of his incessant, inspired, and skilful draftsmanship … His struggle with
the dark side of human experience is the underlying subject of his life and art.”
“The style that he ultimately adopted originated in the African American civil
rights era Social Realist art of Joseph Delaney. Gittoes went on to develop an
art that is a unique contribution to social realism.”
- James Harithas is the director of Station Museum of Contemporary Art,
“Gittoes through his work emerges not so much as the compassionate observer, a witness who records a testament for posterity, but as an active pacifist who through his art attempts to alter society. He conceives his art like the shield of Perseus, by placing a mirror to reflect the evil in the world and all of the ugliness, [and] through this act of exposure, by reflecting evil upon itself, he hopes to destroy it. By creating a relevant pictorial language that will be accessible to a broad cross section of society, he seeks to expose evil so that people will wish to change it.”
- Dr Sasha Grishin, former Professor of Art History at the Australian National University, Canberra.