Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ING Discerning Eye 2009 - call for entries

The Call for Entries for the 2009 ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries has been issued. The exhibition is an opportunity for lesser known artists to hang alongside internationally known artists

Every year, in November, the The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition shows a number of small works which have been selected by an indendent panel of six prominent figures.

There are two artists, two collectors and two critics. The exhibition groups the works of each selector so that in six areas of the gallery, the works have a coherence in terms of what appeals to each selector. The work of very popular artists may pop up in two or more of these 'collections'.

How to enter

There are two ways to have your work exhibited
  • either through submitting work via the open submission (see below for a summary). Last year 279 (49%) of the 572 works on display were from the open submission artists.
  • or by being invited by show work by one of the selectors - an opportunity which is used very different ways by different selectors
This is the website of the Discerning Eye Competition and Exhibition. (For some reason the hyperlinks work - and then subsequently return errors(!) - so I'm going to give the full URL here http://www.discerningeye.org/_i/index.htm noting that there is an underscore before the letter 'i')

This art competition is administered by Parker Harris. On their website you can find more details about the exhibition and download the following:
The basics are as follows:
  • drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs are admissable
  • all work must be submitted unpacked (ie no support for unpacking/packing)
  • final deadline for receipt of entries in London: 5th September 2009. The guidance provides details of receiving dates for 15 towns and cities throughout the UK besides London. The earliest receiving date is 25 August.
  • all works must be handmade and within the maximum size limit (20 inches including frame or plinth/stand)
  • submission fees £9 per work
  • all works will be included in the online catalogue - and artists have to supply a suitable digital image if selected
  • up to 600 works could be on display. Based on last year, one might expect about 300 to be from the open entry
  • all works must be for sale - and 40% is charged on all sales. Last year 180 (31%) of the 572 works sold and of these 52% were from open submission artists (who did a little better than invited artists).
  • work not sold in the exhibition will remain on display in the online exhibition until 1st january 2010
  • detailed guidance on requirements for frames
  • unselected works to be collected 11-12 September
  • unsold works to be collected 27th November

This year’s selectors, who will chose from publicly submitted works and works from invited artists are as listed below. It's a very curious mix which should produce some interesting results.

  • Lincoln Seligman (painter and sculptor) - an interesting choice as he is best known for his large scale works of art for modern buildings around the world
  • Gus Cummins RA (painter);
I find that Gus Cummins, although a particularly individualist artist, exists in a space somewhere between the thinking of the surrealist painters and the experts of the magic realist painters.
Sir Roger de Grey
  • Peter Bowles (actor) - previously Lord of the Manor
  • Laurence Llewelyn Bowen (interior designer and television and radio personality) - one might add that the website cuts a foppish dash too!

[update - I forgot to mention the prizes yesterday!] There are a number of purchase prizes from the ING Purchase Prize which is worth £5,000 to the Humphreys Puchase Prize of £750. Further details are available in the leaflet.

There are also 8 prizes of £250 each for outstanding entries from (sic) "the national regions". I'm not quite sure how artists in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland might feel about their countries being designated 'regions'! I worked for a number of years in different contexts with colleagues across the UK and Ireland and I remember it being drummed into me that one always has to avoid the word 'region' being used for any area which lies outside England!


Dates for the 2009 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in The Mall, London SW1 are as follows:
  • opens to the public on Thursday 12 November 2009 at 10 am
  • closes Sunday 22 November
Links to previous posts on Making A Mark about the ING Discerning Eye - which include images of previous exhibitions


  1. Kathryn; just a head's up; the first two links have 406/404 errors.

  2. Thanks - very odd - it's the correct URL. However I've now changed it to one that's slightly different which works properly

  3. Hi Katherine and readers,

    Although it seems that this event is only for UK participants, I didn't read a notorious mention about this important aspect on their prospect.
    Or have I missed it ?
    I find stingy that one the world's biggest insurance companies doesn't offer this service to the participants; until a certain amount, for insteance.

    Best regards,


  4. Thanks, Katherine for letting us know about this! Do you know is it open to US artists also?

  5. Jose - I'm not quite sure what you mean.

    Lots of art competitions are limited to people from a particular country - I could list a huge number in the USA!

    However on a more constructive note, there is absolutely NOTHING in the information leaflet which says that this competition is limited to UK artists only. If it is then I would have expected this to have been made clear in the leaflet, on the form, on the Discerning Eye website and on the Parker Harris website.

    All it states is that you need to indicate the region you live in to be eligible for one of the regional prizes.

    I'll alert the people at Parker Harris to the query - however my reading of the leaflet and other documentation is that there is nothing which indicates that overseas submissions are ineligible.

    However it's probably worth noting (I'll amend the post!) that work has to be submitted UNWRAPPED and that there is absolutely no support for the unpacking and repacking of any entries.

    What that means is that anybody submitting from overseas needs to have a friend located near one of the collection points who can take (and collect) the work. Also you'd need to work out how to pay the fees (eg reimburse friend?)

    In other words it's not impossible but it's not easy either. But then if I look at submitting to competitions in the USA I face very similar issues, In summary, this is the practical reality of international submissions

  6. Thanks, Katherine for that explanation! Yes, it might be a bit too complicated. Or.....perhaps this is a sign that I need to come home and visit my family while I deliver a painting:)


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.