The ING Discerning Eye is an educational charity, established in the UK in 1990, to encourage a wider understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and to stimulate debate about the place and purpose of art in our society, and the contribution each one of us can make to its development. Since 1990, it has presented over 12,000 pieces of artwork, encouraging the public to exercise and strengthen its own discerning eye.
The Exhibition comprises both publicly submitted works and works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Each section is hung separately to give each its own distinctive identity. The impression emerges of six small exhibitions within the whole. The result is a multi-faceted exhibition which not only holds the promise of something new around every corner, but also grants the viewer access to the unique and often surprising artistic vision of each selector.
'Walking into a display like this often leads to a kind of “snow blindness”. The result of a large number of small scale, but intense images can put you into a bit of a spin, but look carefully dear viewer, and you will surely find something of great significance, even life changing for you.' (Chris Orr RA, former Selector)
An exhibition of this sort provides an unusual opportunity for works by lesser-known artists to be hung alongside contributions from internationally recognised names. The selectors are solely responsible for their own selection; i.e. selection is not by committee: '...the works come at you thick and fast, brought in by a team of art handlers. You must make an instant decision. This has to be intuitive. Like going to a very large party you quickly work out who you want to talk to. There are second thoughts, for and against, but no time to do research or look for corroborating evidence. You have to trust your judgement built over years of looking.’ (Chris Orr RA) The only restrictions imposed during the selection process are a size limitation and an open submission percentage quota: works may not exceed 20" in their largest dimension and at least 25% of each Selector's section must be comprised of works selected through the open submission process.
In previous years, renowned artists, prolific critics, broadcasters, actors and actresses – even Princes! – have taken on the role of selector, and this year’s selection panel is no less illustrious. An acclaimed actress, the former Arts Correspondent for The Times, and a self-taught artist whose story is one of social media stardom, all join the ranks. To find out more, visit http://www.discerningeye.org/index.php