Home - Scott Wilmot Bennett

Elioth Gruner and New England

In the week before Christmas, my mother and I drove to Armidale to see an exhibition of one of my favourite Australian artists, Elioth Gruner.

The waters parted as it were, and we had a beautiful, blue, cloudless sky all the way. A cold air mass had moved right across our route, blowing away the moist air, leaving only the wispy Alto Cirrus clouds typical of a winter day!

As a child I had travelled the New England highway many times on our annual holiday trip north. It had always been hot, brown, dry and boring! It seemed and endless stretch of monotonous farmland, dotted with gum trees that offered the only shade to stock in a sea of sun bleached grasses.

This time, the flooding rains that had been drenching most of Australia, had transformed the land. It was completely green and lush with wild flowers coating the hills like snow. Bright white, yellow, orange and splashes of purple lined the side of the road. It reminded me of a fantasy, the yellow brick road, we felt like celebrities on an entrance carpet!

It was wonderful to see the New England tablelands looking like its name sake. The familiar planted Poplars, that mark out rural boundaries and the Willows that follow the waterways never looked so lush.

Gruner: Light and Landscape

Spring Frost Original
Spring Frost at NERAM

"According to Norman Lindsay, Gruner was “perhaps the greatest painter of pure light the world has ever seen”.

This exhibition focuses on the lyrical paintings of Elioth Gruner in the NERAM Collections. It is enhanced by loans from the Art Gallery of NSW and in particular, Gruner’s iconic work, Spring Frost of 1919. Sponsored by the Friends of the Old Teachers College."

The Paintings

I enjoyed seeing Gruners paintings in real life again. It is amazing how most of the images we see as artists are those in books or on monitors. These can never do justice to the real thing. There is scale and texture and a depth of luminance and chrominance that can not be produced with current technology. And I think this matters, I remember being very moved upon seeing Monet's paintings in the flesh for the first time. Gruner's works also seemed more frail and less perfect; more human than I had expected.

Summer Squal
Ebor/New England Tablelands/New South Wales/Australia
Scott Bennett
Summer Squall
Oil on linen
Private collection

Wild flowers at Ebor on the road to Dorrigo, New England Tablelands 2010.