The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2021 edition celebrates its 30th year in one of the longest-running commercial sponsorships of the arts in the UK making it a perfect example of how the private sector can support the arts.
Silver lining from the pandemic: after a fully virtual exhibition in 2020, the 2021 edition sees the first-ever hybrid exhibition which will make it accessible to a larger public and increase the visibility for the artists and the organization.
The 500 shortlisted artworks of contemporary British art will be exhibited both at the Mall Galleries in London and online, from 12 November to 21 November 2021. I had a chance to get a preview of the show (online) and I picked 20 artworks that particularly caught my eye.
A focus on small-scale works with a unique selection process
Made up of experts from across the art world – two artists, two collectors and two critics – the selection panel chose pieces spanning across all mediums, styles and genres to represent some of the best art made in Britain today.
Some of the artwork comes from artists who are personally invited by a selector and more than half of the works is selected through an open submission process, allowing emerging artists to exhibit alongside established names. This year the ING Discerning Eye 2021 received more entries than ever before: 7,500 works from artists across the UK.
The 2021 selectors, RussellTovey, Adelaide Damoah, Anna Brady, Peter Brown NEAC, Roland Cowan and Tony Humphreys, went through the open submissions to handpick their shortlist.
The exhibition promises to be artistically diverse yet thoughtfully curated, giving viewers a sense of where contemporary British art is heading, as well as a glimpse of each of the selector’s individual tastes.
“I’m drawn to colour and figuration in a big way – and dogs, I always love dogs, so my selection was looking for the most dynamic and exciting artists exploring the figure and colour saturation’s – and of course, dogs. I’m excited to see my selection hung together.” says Russell Tovey, actor, author and playwright, host of the TalkArt podcast.
“The pandemic has taught us what the real value of art is, especially with regard to our mental health. We need it to sustain and connect us. We have all missed being able to physically be with great art and each other to discuss it and absorb its magic.”
Adelaide Damoah, artist, academician of the Royal West of England Academy
All artworks will be available for sale and available via www.ingdeexhibition.org. Because of their small scale, the works displayed in the ING Discerning Eye exhibition are accessible to art lovers with limited spaces or budgets. “I was amazed by how incredibly affordable many of the works entered are—many just a few hundred pounds—so don’t be intimidated” selector Anna Brady, Art Market Editor for The Art Newspaper emphasises.