John Benjamin Hickey
I am delighted to report that the 2018 ING Discerning Eye exhibition attracted a record-breaking number of entries. A total of 491 works by 240 artists were selected for the exhibition.
My thanks are therefore due to the artists who submitted work and to this year's selectors, artists Bridget McCrum and Sadie Clayton, collectors Nick Ross and John Benjamin Hickey and critics Cherie Federico and Frances Hedges for their enthusiasm and commitment in addressing the task of judging so many pieces of art.
My thanks also to our sponsors, ING Wholesale Banking, without whose support we could not stage this annual exhibition. Discerning Eye Chief Executive Tony Humphreys expresses our appreciation of ING's twenty-year partnership with The Discerning Eye elsewhere in this catalogue.
It is a great pleasure to welcome Małgorzata Kołakowska who was recently appointed CEO of ING UK, Ireland and Middle East. She has met Discerning Eye Board members and some of this year's selectors and has expressed strong support for the charity and its work.
Finally I would like to thank Parker Harris, our exhibition organisers, staff at the Mall Galleries and all committed - and unpaid - supporters of The Discerning Eye.
The Discerning Eye
Welcome to the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2018. As you will have read elsewhere, this is the twentieth year of ING's sponsorship, which makes this relationship one of the longest running business sponsorships of the Arts in the UK.
When I had those very first discussions about the possibility of sponsorship, I could never have predicted what a long and strong relationship would be built. A relationship that in 2006 resulted in the renaming of the event to the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition.
Although the sponsorship of the main exhibition is crucial, as I have said many times before, our relationship with ING has never been just about the money. Across the years, we have together built a mutual understanding and respect that has resulted in the mounting of numerous additional activities, ranging from debates and workshops to residencies, both at ING's offices and beyond.
The longevity and scope of this relationship is something we are very proud of and value highly. Therefore, on behalf of everybody connected with the Discerning Eye and all the artists and buyers who have participated in our activities, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the new CEO of ING UK, Ireland and Middle East, Małgorzata Kołakowska, and then say a big 'thank you' and Happy 20th Anniversary to ING. I would also like to thank Aesthetica Magazine, Prestat Chocolates, St Cuthberts Mill and Pegasus Art for supporting the 2018 Exhibition.
As we reach this impressive milestone, we also have to say some goodbyes to some of the people who have helped us on the journey. First, we bid farewell to Lewis McNaught of the Mall Galleries who recently announced that he will be leaving later this year. Lewis has run the Mall Galleries for many years and was instrumental in the upgrade/refurbishment that we enjoy today. We wish Lewis good luck in his next venture.
Finally, we have to bid farewell to Malcolm Wright. Malcolm joined the Discerning Eye Charity with me over twenty years ago to simply help 'sort out the accounts'. He subsequently became Finance Director, a role which he has held since. Malcolm will be retiring after this exhibition so I have to thank him for his complete dedication to the activities of the Discerning Eye Charity and his unwavering support on a personal level. He will be greatly missed but we hope to see him and Lewis at future exhibitions as guests.
The Discerning Eye
In the 2018 exhibition 78% of the artists and 63% of the works are from the open submission. Painting and drawing make up over 47% of the works, mixed media and sculpture about 30%, printmaking about 13%, and photography and film about 10%.
ING Małgorzata Kołakowska introduces the 2018 Exhibition
ING is proud to support the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition for the 20th year in 2018 – making ours one of the longest-standing corporate arts sponsorships in the UK.
As we celebrate this landmark year in our partnership, the shared commitment of ING and Discerning Eye of encouraging emerging talent and making arts accessible to new audiences is at the fore.
When you see 20 years of sponsorship in numbers, the size of the positive impact of the exhibition is clear. During our 20 years as partner with the Discerning Eye Exhibition, more than 2500 artists have been exhibited, just under 10,000 works have been hung, almost £250,000 has been awarded as prizes to exhibiting artists and more than £800,000 of art has been sold on behalf of artists.
We also hear of impact for individual artists. Artists for who the ING Discerning Eye has been meaningful in shaping their career – often in the early stages, helping to open up their work to a new audience. Renowned British printmaker Tom Hammick told Aesthetica magazine earlier this year about the impact of being selected for the Discerning Eye Exhibition early in his career: “I was just out of art school, and this was very helpful as someone living in total penury. Every little break like that kept one going with some hope. It was a very important piece in the stepping stones to becoming self-sufficient as an artist… Anything like this competition – so broad-minded and eclectic – enables little miracles of art conjured from adversity to be seen.”
In our ING UK Art Collection, we have added 19 ING Purchase Prize winners to the collection – and a 20th will be added this year. To celebrate ING's longstanding relationship with the Discerning Eye, we have brought the collection of ING Purchase Prize winners on display for the first time here at the exhibition. These pieces usually adorn the walls and spaces in our office at 8-10 Moorgate in the heart of the City of London – proudly showcasing the works and our partnership to ING’s clients and employees.
ING thanks the selectors, the artists, The Discerning Eye and the Parker Harris Partnership for all their efforts in preparing for the exhibition. Please join me in wishing the ING Discerning Eye 2018 Exhibition every success.
CEO, UK, Ireland and Middle East, ING
ING is a global financial institution with a strong European base, offering banking services through its operating company ING Bank. The purpose of ING Bank is empowering people tostay a step ahead in life and in business. ING Bank's more than 52,000 employees offer retail and wholesale banking services to customers in over 40 countries. Sustainability forms an integral part of ING's strategy, evidenced by ING's ranking as a leader in the banks industry group by Sustainalytics. ING Group shares are included in the FTSE4Good index and in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Europe and World), where ING is also among the leaders in the banks industry group.
Selector Profile: Cherie Federico
Artists are the chroniclers of our time and they remind us to stop and look around at the world. Today, the world is increasingly shaped by surveillance and data collection, and the human condition has become one of rehearsal and performance. Art offers a way to explore the wider effects of over-consumption, media stimulation and data dissemination. It calls into question new modes of communication and offers a moment of respite and a chance for reflection.
Art is a way to convene, discuss and understand the world. There has been significant shift in civilisation in the Information Age - resulting in a change in the way we communicate and interact with each other. There has been a level
of disconnect that has not been experienced before. A new way of seeing has been created by the Digital Age.
We must ask, what is the current state of play? Great art can change lives. It reveals things we don't know and encourages us to think differently. It enriches our lives and invites us to see the world in a new way, as well as contributing to our wellbeing.
I am passionate about how art teaches, educates and informs us. Supporting and championing new talent is the way to drive forward innovation and idea generation. I was delighted to be asked to be on the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition Selection Panel for 2018. It's a rare opportunity to see so much artwork being produced today.
Selector Profile: Sadie Clayton
The premise of this exhibition is unique, refreshing and diverse. The cross-functional nature both of the works that I chose, and the breadth of background of the selectors themselves sat very well with my own personal creativity. Also the fact that I was, to an extent, able to give back to the world which has supported me as an emerging artist and designer for so long, by choosing and bringing into the light other artists, sculptures, designers etc., was a joy.
My promise to myself was that when I had the possibility to champion others as I have been in the past, I would, and this is hopefully just the first step in the right direction.