Monday, November 18, 2013

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2013 - a review

The ING Discerning Eye is different from all other art competitions and art society exhibitions - and it's definitely worth a visit.

In terms of the paintings, drawings, fine art print and sculpture on display
  1. The work is all small
  2. The work is selected by individuals and hung or displayed in a group by selector. In effect it's like six exhibitions in a large gallery.
Over 450 works in print, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography by approximately 200
artists are on display in the 2013 Annual Exhibition of the ING Discerning Eye  at the Mall Galleries which opens to the public today. The prizewinners are detailed in a separate post - see  Jeremy Gardiner wins ING Discerning Eye Prize 2013.

The Selectors' Exhibitions

The Selectors - and images of their mini exhibitions - are shown below.  The descriptions of each selector come from my earlier post ING Discerning Eye 2013: Call for Entries

The two exhibitions I liked the best were those by Deborah Swallow and Liz Anderson.
Artist - Stephen Farthing RA - Elected to the Royal Academy in 1998. In August 2004, he was appointed as the Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at the Centre for Drawing run by the University of Arts London - and hosted by Wimbledon College of Art. I've always very interested in what a person promoting drawing selects for an exhibition.
A very graphic and abstracted selection by Stephen Farthing
His exhibition includes 67 works - but it seemed like a lot less.

Works by Tessa Farmer - invited by Stephen Farthing RA
Interestingly his entry in the catalogue is the only one which says nothing about his experience of the process associated with the competition - which, in effect, sets up a competition between individual selectors to respond fast enough to get the pieces they really want.

Artist - Eileen Hogan is an English painter and book artist. She is a Research Professor at Wimbledon College of Art, a Patron of Mindroom and a trustee of the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation. Check out her paintings - I like them a lot!
Most of Eileen Hogans' exhibition
Eileen Hogan has the largest exhibition with some 98 works - which are drawings, paintings and fine art prints (no sculpture)

Some interesting circular works in Eileen Hogan's exhibition
The whole process has been delightful, and I learnt a lot about making decisions during the open section. I discovered depths of competitiveness that I didn't know I had when all my fellow selectors seemed intent on choosing work I coveted. I hadn't realised quite how detrimental certain frames can be to appreciating work swiftly in a conveyer-belt system of presentation.
I found the latter comment intriguing - but it does point up how important framing can be to the chances of being selected.

I didn't feel particularly drawn to her choices which is very odd as I very much like her own artwork.  She was also invited to exhibit work by Liz Anderson one of her fellow selectors. Interestingly this was the work which my eye was immediately drawn to in that exhibition!

Paintings by Eileen Hogan
- part of Liz Anderson's exhibition
(top) “Kettle drum” 8x8 inches Oil paint on paper £2900
(bottom) “Beehives at Little Sparta”, 9x8 inches  Oil paint on paper £2900
Art Collector - Loyd Grossman OBE, Television Presenter, Gastronome and Art Historian.  Here's a quote from Wikipedia "Grossman won an edition of BBC's Celebrity Mastermind on 27 December 2009. His specialist subject was 18th Century art and artists."
His exhibition comprised 46 drawings and paintings - which is very small in the context of past ING DE exhibitions

Loyd Grossman - Wall #1

Loyd Grossman - Wall #2
I was confused by Loyd Grossman's exhibition. To me it didn't seem to 'hang together' or speak of an aesthetic which told me what he liked as art.  I could see how the groups by individual artists had a coherence but not why he chose them.

I also found it very odd that the DE Founder's Purchase Prize (£2,500) - Foreshore, Shaldon by Richard Teasdale - an artist selected by Loyd Grossman should have been 'skied'.  It was if nobody had told the people hanging the exhibition which images had won prizes.  Very odd.  I cannot believe the Mall Galleries hanging team would have hung it at the very top of the first wall if they knew it had won! The reproduction of the same painting in the catalogue is absolutely atrocious as well.  Very, very odd.

Art Collector - Professor Deborah Swallow, Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her research interests have been Indian art and textiles.
Her exhibition includes 92 paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture.

This exhibition had quite a monochromatic emphasis with occasional splashes of colour. However what it lacked in colour it made up for in texture. It also had a coherence so that although the style of different works varied a lot, they seemed to 'fit'.  One could imagine this as a wall in someone's home.  There were rather a lot of works one wanted to study longer.

Interestingly she comments in the catalogue as follows
I decided to allow myself to respond instinctively selecting artists whose work spoke directly to me without initially thinking about how the selected group might emerge as an entity in doing this.
Deborah Swallow - central section of her exhibition
More of Deborah Swallow's exhibition
Right hand edge of Deborah Swallow's exhibition
Critic - Liz Anderson, Arts Editor,The Spectator. She hasn't written much of late judging by the Spectator's page for her. I always find it amazing how journalists manage to keep more or less all information about them off the Internet......
Liz Anderson - Feature Wall
containing the winner of the ING Discerning Eye Prize (centre bottom)
...when looking a pieces from the open submission - more than 2,000 artworks were paraded in front of us - I soon learnt to be quick and decisive if I want to beat a fellow selector to a particular picture or sculpture. Is there a common thread running through my selection? Not really. I just chose works that I liked. I hope you like them too.
More work selected by Liz Anderson
Liz Anderson's selection has a distinct airy outdoors coastal feel to it. It kept making me think of Cornwall.  Maybe it was the colour palette which she went for. Again this was an exhibition with a very coherent feel to it. It looks very good in the Threadneedle Space - and the space looks very good with this exhibition on display!

“Sudden snow, Bryanston Square” by Eileen Hogan
14x14 inches
£1200 (edition) 1 copy sold
Critic - Estelle Lovatt FRSA, ArtCritic and Lecturer. Estelle Lovatt is a freelance art critic for the BBC (radio and TV), Radio 2's flagship arts programme 'The Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman', as well as for various independent radio stations throughout Great Britain. Her website is very odd - it seems to have tabs (to news, exhibitions, must see etc) - but they're just words with no links.
Estelle Lovatt - in the North Gallery

Estelle Lovatt is displaying 85 artworks including some significant collections of sculpture which appear to all be invited artists.
My individually invited artists are those whose work I liked - much before I even began to understand just how extremely good their art really was.

A small selection of the work I liked

Besides Eileen Hogan's own artwork, I really liked this painting by Robbie Wraith - could be because I used to have a wall like this in college!

“Anima” by Robbie Wraith RP
Watercolour, 18x20 inches
I also spotted more work by Jonty Hurwitz - who I met at the Savoy Hotel earlier this year when his sculpture of Caspar the Savoy cat was being unveiled in the Terrace Restaurant (see
Kaspar's at the Savoy and Jonty Hurwitz's Anamorphic Art).  He has six pieces in the show including two of his anamorphic scultures.

“Trees 2” by Philippa Tunstill - selected by Loyd Grossman
Pencil on paper 13x13 inches
Finally, Philippa Tunstill is the artist it seems everybody wanted a piece of - which has got to count for something!
  • Stephen Farthing has two of her pieces Trees 1 and Hullablue
  • Loyd Grossman has one - Trees 2
  • Deborah Swallow has Trees 3 - which has sold.
[Note:  I received an email this morning from an artist thanking me for highlighting his work - and pointing out his name was actually Phil Shaw and not Paul Shaw. Apparently I had been incorrectly advised in the email sent to me with the names of the winners!  It explained why I couldn't find a website for him.  This is now corrected.

Also if I've got time I shall add pics of winner's work into the previous post Jeremy Gardiner wins ING Discerning Eye Prize 2013 tomorrow.

Previous blog posts








No comments:

Post a Comment

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.