Thursday, November 27, 2014

Video of the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2014

Last week I visited the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition towards the end of its run at the Mall Galleries. It continues online on the website.

I've mislaid the catalogue in which I made my notes which has made doing a review a bit more difficult than usual. However I'm loath to omit it from my reviews as I know a lot of people like to see what it looks like when thinking about an entry for next year - and not all of us live in London and can get to see it easily!

Hence this is a largely visual review - first a video and then a selection of photographs I took of pieces I liked.

ING Discerning Eye 2014 - view of parts of the exhibitions curated by Helen Sumpter and Nicole Green
Unfortunately the exhibition's website for some reason focuses on text and names rather than images - which frankly seems to me to be entirely the wrong way round - the emphasis surely ought to be on artists and the images!

Hence I can't look at the images quickly and identify the artist........ I will do my best.

2014 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition

The exhibition this year included a total of six hundred and fifty-seven works by three hundred and seventeen artists. This is more than in previous years and frankly parts of the galleries looked very crowded.

The website does NOT report the percentage of works which actually came from the open entry. (see ING Discerning Eye 2014 - Call for Entries). However this year the sponsors have become more transparent about the extent to which the exhibitions are selected from the open entry
Work is selected from open submission and from artists invited by the individual selectors.....The only restrictions are limitation of size (only small works are permitted) and to select at least 25% of their section from the open submission.
Frankly, I now hesitate to call this either an art competition or an open exhibition with a minimum for works from the open entry set as low as 25%.

For me an exhibition which characterises itself as an open entry should have at least 50% of the work from the open entry.

In some ways I think I'd almost rather see a straight properly curated exhibition by six individuals - with an injunction that this exhibition is not a rationale for giving your art students a leg up by selecting their work for the exhibition. The inclusion of students' work in those circumstances says nothing about its intrinsic worth - it's merely an accident of the selection of the curator. To my mind it's as bad as those open exhibitions where all the artists on the selection panel choose their friends for the prizes. At the end of the day such approaches only undermine the reputation of the exhibition and the jury process.

A transparent process would clearly indicate those artists who made it through the jury process on the labels and in the catalogue - and then we could see which curators really made an effort to seek out the best from the open entry and which stuck to the artists they already liked or wanted to favour.

My preference has always been for an exhibition which is 100% selected from the open entry. I'm not sure we'll ever get that - but the insidious downgrading of the open entry is, in my opinion, something which should be resisted.

A look round the exhibition

To me parts of the Galleries looked very crowded - particularly in the large West Gallery - while a few other areas looked sparsely hung.  One wonders whether the curators are given any advice as to how many works their space can comfortably accommodate.  I'm certainly no fan of small works being "skied".

I'm not trying to show you works in detail in the video so much as show you the character of the exhibition - which is six small exhibitions by different curators. You can see their names above their selection as the camera pans around. The curators this year were:
  • artists Nicola Green and Emma Stibborn RA
  • collectors Chris Ingram and Dr. Giles Brown
  • critics Simon Martin and Helen Sumpter

The order in which the small exhibitions are seen on the video are
  • Large West Gallery - Simon Martin, Helen Sumpter, Nicole Green, Emma Stibborn, 
  • Threadneedle Gallery - Giles Brown,
  • North Gallery - Chris Ingram
The exhibition I liked the best was by Chris Ingram - who also selected the work awarded the ING discerning Eye Prize, although there were individual works I liked in all of the exhibitions.


Can the organisers please do the decent thing (i.e. respect the artist) next year and
  • list the prizewinners on the website with their first name and their surname in the correct order.
  • give each of the prizewinning works a page with a unique URL so it can be clearly identified.
The 2014 prizewinners are listed below. The links in the titles of the work which has won the prize is supposed to go to the image of that work on the website. However the website is set up in such a way that the emphasis is on the artist and not the unique artwork - hence it goes to the first piece if it it's a group of work selected! Just keep clicking until you get to the one which matches the title!

The links in the artists' names below go their own personal websites where you can see more of their work.

  • ING Discerning Eye Purchase Prize £5000 - Rush hour (3/104) by Dee Stanford 
Winner of the ING Discerning Eye Prize (5,000)
Rush Hour by Dee Stanford
16x18 inches
Mixed metals
(watch out for it at the end of the video - which will give you a sense of its scale)
  • DE Founder's Purchase Prize £2500 - 

  • DE Chairman's Purchase Prize £1000NEWLAND, PaulPrecipitation in the Ouse Valley (5/81) by Paul Newland - who is Junior Vice President of the Royal Watercolour Society.
Winner of the DE Chairman's Purchase Prize (£1,000)
Precipitation in the Ouse Valley by Paul Newland
20x14 inches, Pencil, ink and chalk, £800
  • London Regional Prize £250 Oona Grimes - invited by Emma Stibborn
  • South East Regional Prize £250 - “Over the wall” by Neil Bousfield - selected by Simon Martin. I'd have had these listed under "works I liked" if he hadn't won a prize!  Neil also has a blog Neil Bousfield Prints
Works by Neil Bousfield
Winner of South East Prize: “Over the wall” 17x15 inches, Wood engraving £265
  • Scotland Regional Prize £250 - Artist in the landscape - Dartmoor by David Caldwell - selected by Emma Stibbon RA
  • West Country Regional Prize £250 -  Chris Rigbyselected by Helen Sumpter
  • Wales Regional Prize £250 - Clive Hicks Jenkins - invited by Simon Martin
  • Midlands Regional Prize £250 - Elisha Enfield - selected by Helen Sumpter
  • East Anglia Regional Prize £250 - Bawdy House by Benjamin Sullivan. Benjamin is a former winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize and is the youngest person ever to be elected to the New English Art Club and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Bawdy House by Benjamin Sullivan

More information about the ING Discerning Eye art competition - artwork and selected artists

You can see images of works selected in past exhibitions in the archive.
All of our past exhibitions are archived here. Since 2008, the archive has included images of all works. The archive is indexed by both artist and selector and there is a full site index available too.
You can also find out about selected artists - and see their websites - and what the artwork looked like in the exhibitions in my blog posts below.


1 comment:

  1. I have really enjoyed seeing the video of this exhibition because I missed submitting work this year, and then I was not able to see the exhibition (I go to see it most years). It varies so much from year to year, and it seemed to me, from your video, that there were quite a few faces/portraits. It was also interesting to see close-ups of certain paintings.


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