Friday, November 20, 2015

Review ING Discerning Eye 2015

ING Discerning Eye - exhibitions by Nicole Farhi and Larry Lamb.
Yesterday I ventured out after a week of resting my frozen back and went to visit the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition at the Mall Galleries....

...and got to meet Larry Lamb, one of this year's selectors and Tony Humphreys, the CEO of The Discerning Eye charity who were both chatting to a well known lady who I very much suspect will become one of next year's selectors - but I'm not saying who! :)

However as this review is coming late in the day I'm going to very much focus on highlighting the work I liked and anything that might be useful for those submitting in future years

What I liked about the mini-exhibitions

The ING Discerning Eye is interesting because it's six mini exhibitions making up one large exhibition.

I loved the sparse and beautifully hung exhibition of the 42 pieces chosen by Stephen Doherty (Director of Visitor Communications for Somerset House). My eye kept being drawn back to it.

Stephen Doherty seems to be a ladnscape fan.

I also loved a lot of the landscapes that he had chosen

Nicole Fahri has an awful lot in her exhibition (109 pieces) - but it worked as she wove themes and artworks together. It also demonstrated very clearly how you can mix very diverse works together - and it works - if you have a very discerning eye!

Nicole Fahri's selection and exhibition - lots of sculpture for somebody who has become a sculptor
For me, Larry Lamb's exhibition of of 65 works of art was one that would probably appeal to a lot of people visiting the exhibition. He told me he loves colour and texture.

The left hand side of Larry Lamb's exhibition
I loved the ceramics and sculpture at either end of this photo
Caroline Convey's birds jumped off the wall in Larry Lamb's exhibition. The shapes and the colour were very strong and they looked great hung together.  I understand that her family all came down from Scotland to see the exhibition!

This is her website and her Facebook Page

(from top left clockwise) African Grey Parrot, Cockerel, Green-winged Macaw and Chicken
mixed media by Caroline Convey
Emma Bridgewater had the Brian Sewell spot - which I always think is the most difficult to carry off as it covers four walls and it's very difficult to see all at once and nearly impossible to stand back from due to the tables and chairs.

Nevertheless the work hung on the grey feature wall carried extremely well across the room. She has 81 pieces in her exhibition.

Feature Wall in Emma Bridgewater's exhibition
Her exhibition also included six small works by Daphne Todd OBE PPRP. I was slightly surprised to be unable to discern a theme across the works. I saw her small works in her exhibition at Messums earlier this year - and hung alongside larger works 'of the same ilk' they worked extremely well. This is her website

Small oil paintings by Daphne Todd 
To be honest I wasn't a huge fan of the exhibition by Stephen Snoddy (Gallery Director of The New Art Gallery, Walsall) which was hung in the Threadneedle Room. It didn't quite 'gell' with me.  Which is odd given he was the only one of the selectors who must be used to hanging art.

However I did like some of the artwork he chose - and the selection below is the part of the exhibition I liked the best.  There are 75 pieces in the exhibition.

This was the wall I liked best in Stephen Snoddy's exhibition
It includes one of the prizewinners and four of the works on this wall had sold.
There was a lot to like in Steve Pill's exhibition in the North Galleries. He's the Editor of Artist and Illustrator and I really liked what he had to say in the catalogue.

I particularly liked the works on this wall by (left to right) Melanie Goemans (you MUST look at her website!), Therese Oulton and Beth Roberston Fiddes

I had no idea they were all women painters until I came to write this post as I tend to ignore the catalogue as I'm walking round and just judge paintings on the basis of the painting and not on who painted it.

A new look at landscape painting and trees
by three woman artists

Things that surprised me

Things that surprised me included:
  • Despite this being an exhibition of small works, I was actually surprised just how small some of the artworks were that won prizes.
  • More and more I'm noticing that members of the FBA art societies which exhibit at the Mall Galleries are being invited to exhibit their work in competitions such as this or are entering via the open entry. I think more should give it serious consideration. It's good to pitch your work against that of emerging artists!

Things that didn't surprise me

  • As always, if you create a theme for your work and several are hung together they inevitably create a much better impression than 'various works' by the same artist which happen to fit the criteria on size. I'd very much recommend people submitting more than one work to think long and hard about whether multiple works 'work' as a whole as it's more than likely this will influence what gets chosen.
  • Lots and lots of work with white, black and neutral wood or neutral colour frames can hang together - and very close together - really easily. However what does look really odd - to my eyes - in this company is the metallic looking or shiny frame.

Worth noting

If you want your artwork to stand out try submitting something that's a bit different.  Here's my choice of 'the ones that looked different'.

I absolutely adored the ceramic pots by the Japanese-born artist Hitomi Hosono with botanical features on the outside and gold lustre inside. This was the artwork I most wanted to take home with me. Oddly enough I also saw her work this month at the re-opening of the refurbished and refreshed Japanese Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum and was very struck by it there as well. If you want to be bowled over by it just put her name into Google and click the images page

She graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2009 with an MA in Ceramics and Glass. In 2014 she won the Jerwood Makers Open 2014. In 2013 she won the 2013 Perrier-Jou√ęt Arts Salon Prize 2013

Banana Leaves Bowl (2015) by Hitomi Hosono
My friend Sarah Wimperis entered a very unusual work - which lacked a clear sign inviting you to open the box and turn the pages of the sketchbook she entered (which was her intention).

Somebody liked the idea because it sold at the preview. Larry Lamb was also kind and stood next to it so I could send her photo of who got her into the ING!

Larry Lamb and the sketchbook in a box exhibited by Sarah Wimperis
On the Road (completed this summer in France)
You always seem to get one artist where everybody wants one of the works. This year it seemed to be Kitty Stirling (whose website seems to have died in 2012).  Here are two of her works which are described as mixed media. I couldn;t quite work out whether or not they started life as photographs (monochromatic or otherwise) but I think maybe they did.

Works by Kitty Stirling.

Note to the Board: Maybe not so many Stephens next year? It's confusing!

Related Links - 2015 and previous years


You can see images of works selected in past exhibitions (2014 and before) in the archive.
  • All 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 indexavailable too.
You can also find out about selected artists - and see their websites - and see what the artwork actually looked like hung on the wall in previous exhibitions in my blog posts below.



Unknown said...

Hi Katherine
Thank you for featuring my work in your review and for the great photograph. I didn't get to the exhibition so I am glad to see my work in context and that you picked it out.

Making A Mark said...

My pleasure Melanie! Your artwork looked great.

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