Naming the Elioth Gruner exhibition, “the texture of light” conjures up thoughts of feeling and touching the invisible. Light is a variable and to describe it is easy, to find texture in it is to relate to its effect on the visible and try to describe the result. Gruner makes it possible in his almost too perfect landscapes, one of which I grew up with and loved for its utter bucolic beauty, and have kept not because of value but because I know the view. Well I think I do, but maybe I only know it from the Gruner perspective.
He painted our region. The South Coast, the Monaro, the Southern Highlands and the meandering Murrumbidgee winding through local properties with the haze of the distant hills mixed with smoke, the gray/greens of lush tree growth and multi coloured grasses for those fat cows he loved. His en plein air painting, particularly in ‘Spring frost’ where the magic of morning sunlight on contented cows and a crisp crunching frost painted at Emu Plains won Gruner one of his seven Wynne prizes in 1919; is vintage Gruner.
The pleasures of the exhibition are many and varied with the self portrait discovered in the RSL club in Cooma where it lived for 55 years a welcome first contact for the exhibition and a delightful and disarmingly simple painting of Arrankamp Guest House, Bowral, interesting because it contains a Gruner thumbprint shown to me by Southern Highlands resident Muriel Stuart with many a Gruner story to tell of his time in the district. The exhibition continues at Canberra Museum and Gallery until 22 June.