8" x 11", pencil and coloured pencil in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
2,300 contemporary artworks are submitted by artists from all over the UK. Artists in the process of establishing their careers can display work alongside well known artists.
...the Discerning Eye Exhibition presents the work of artists, both unknown and established, working in every discipline, in all styles and at varying levels of execution, to the widest of audiences. The work can be challenging, but essentially it is engaging, accessible and affordable. Something, it is said, for everyoneThis year the very interesting mix of selectors were
John Penrose, Chairman Elect, Discerning Eye
- two artists: Sarah Armstrong Jones and Jennifer McRae (check out her wonderful portrait paintings)
- two collectors: Davina McCall and Dame Stephanie Shirley (a very impressive lady)
- two critics: Drusilla Beyfus and Charles Saumerez Smith (ex Director of the National Gallery and now Chief Executive of the Royal Academy)
I found myself using one criterion only in my selection; that is would I give the work house room?Winners of the prizes were as follows:
Charles Saumerez Smith, (Discerning Eye 2007 catelogue)
- ING Purchase Prize (£5,000) Susan Angharad Williams 'Still Life with Artichoke' - chosen by Charles Saumerez Smith (I can't find either artist or painting anywhere on the internet, so I'm assuming she is 'unknown' and without a gallery (or a gallery with a website) - and yet I really can't believe that. Does anybody know different?)
- The Discerning Eye Chairman's Purchase Prize (£1,000) - Mathew Draper 'Calm Seas, Bass Rock'
- Meynell Fenton Prize (£1,000) - Michael Fenton 'Study of Juliette' - chosen by Davina McCall
- The Penrose Prize (£1,000) - Jason Walker 'Self portrait study - happy thought' - selected by Jennifer McRae
Jason Walker graduated from Falmouth College of Art, Cornwall in 1992. He has been selected for various national exhibitions including the Hunting Art Prizes Exhibition at the Royal College of Art in February 2004, The Discerning Eye Exhibition and the BP Portrait Award Winner of The Holburne Portrait Prize 2004, elected to paint Michael Eavis, founder of Glastonbury Festival and winner of the South West Portrait Prize.You can see more of Jason Ward's work at the Lemon Street Gallery here. Besides his portraiture work, he is also painting classic and yet contemporary still life paintings.
- The Humpreys Prize (£750) - Akash Bhatt 'Wasteland V'
- The Arts Club Prize - Clare Bigger 'Dancing Queen' - chosen by Dame Stephanie Shirley.
There's an awful lot of very impressive sculptural work in the show. In fact I'd go so far as to say this exhibition had more sculptures that I liked than any other I've been to this year. I particularly loved the sculptures chosen by Charles Saumerez Smith.
Other artists who caught my eye are:
- David Gould - had three paintings of swimmers split between two judges. They reminded me of those film strips of stop frame photography. They certainly made me want look closer.
- Sophie Levi - had a couple of pencil drawings in the show. You can see more of her action drawings on her website here.
- Gareth Reid - is the winner of the BP Travel Award for 2007 and has four works included. They're small square brownish paintings - which reward close attention as the painting is very fine, even if the colour is a bit odd and reminiscent of sepia photographs. The painting on his website intro page is executed in a simialr style.
- two attractive paintings by Louis Turpin caught my eye and somehow seemed familiar. However it was only when I got home that I realised that I'd bought some of his art cards during the summer because I liked the way he painted! I'd not seen his work before and will now look out for it again.
- Glenys Barton's sculptures of Heads were fascinating - wings sprout from skulls.
- Tessa Traeger has produced an absolutely amazing facsimile collage/photograph/fine art print(?) of Monet's painting on the bridge at Giverney - but composed of tiny cucumbers, cauliflowers and lettuces! I'd not come across her work before but I'm impressed by the photography of more conventional subjects on her website.
I've seen examples of his watercolour paintings in London exhibitions on a number of occasions. His work is very accomplished (he does wonderful skies!) - you can see some examples of the lithographs produced here.
The Prince is a keen watercolourist and paints whenever his schedule allows. Lithographs of his paintings are sold and all proceeds go to The Prince's Charities Foundation.The galleries also included an exhibition of the works by the shortlisted candidates for David Gluck Drawing Bursary. For me there was absolutely no question - the work which I found most intriguing was that by Michael Shaw. He is exploring the use of CAD software to produce what he calls animated drawings which both create the illusion of a three dimensional world in two dimensions but also simulate the act of drawing and act as a surrogate for drawing in a physical form. You can see 'There but there' and 'Doodle' on his website here (scroll down). 'There but not there' has already toured the UK with the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2006. I find it absolutely riveting - and I'd like to see more work like this!
The Prince of Wales website
Finally - two notes. One is that show closes tomorrow - I'm only sorry now that I didn't visit earlier. Plus an interesting 'fashion' note for those submitting framed works for society exhibitions. I'm seeing more and more frames which are painted very neutral colours. Lots of ivories and creams. I also saw many drawings floated in a deep frame rather than placed behind a window in a mount. In my opinion this suited work with deckle edges rather more than those which had been cut.
About ING and Visual Art
ING sponsors the competition and exhibition. It's a pleasure to be able to highlight a company with such a significant commitment to visual art and in particular British art.
ING has art collections in a number of different countries. Its City of London offices are home to a significant art collection featuring work by British artists such as LS Lowry, Sir Stanley Spencer and Samuel Palmer. Its collecting policy initially focused on 18th and 19th century British watercolours and modern figurative works by British artists but purchasing now focuses on the latter. ING welcomes art interest groups to its offices each year to see the collection. The headquarters of ING are in Amsterdam the company also plays a major part in sponsoring the Rijksmuseum. ING's imaginative art programme also has a strong community outreach element which includes sponsorship of a community arts centre in Shoreditch, East London.