Born into a farming family in a small village in Tamil Nadu, Gurunathan remembers that it was both his brothers occupation as a signboard artist and his appreciation of a neighbourhood artist that originally inspired his interest in art. On finishing school he joined the Chennai Government College of Art & Crafts, determined to make art an integral part of his life. Like any other student he began with line drawing and portraiture though this did not hold the young artists interest. The influence of L. Munuswamy and A.P.Santhanaraj changed his mindset forever, teaching him ideas of abstraction and achieving wholeness within a painting by leaving naturalism aside. He learnt from them how to keep the picture surface consistent in style, technique and artistic aims, and thus alive and autonomous.
In recent years, tired of the claustrophobia and nihilism of his subject matter after leaving college, Gurunathan turned to nature to reignite a love for life, beauty and happiness. Nature, he realised, would close the distance between the unfathomable gaps between the heavens, the unending stream of suns, moons and planets and put him nearer to the creator in whose arms struggled the vast universe. Gurunathan takes a sketchpad and makes small abstract drawings of the overlapping of leaves, trees, branches, twigs, shadows as he walks. These are generally monochrome. It is only on return to the studio that these are worked up into larger, colourful mixed media works. They all have a certain verticality within them however much the forms and shapes vary, certainly implying growth and flourishing fecundity. The works remind us of those of Paul Cezanne in their reliance on inner impulses for their artistic realisation. Gurunathan describes the works as having a sustaining quality that ensures a long enduring enjoyment for the returning viewer.