ref: bOv Nov 15-25 2007 ING DISCERNING EYE Exhibition - return to Galleries PR Index


Each year the ING Discerning Eye contains an imaginative selection of contemporary artists, setting established names alongside new talent, connecting new artists with new audiences. This exhibition of small, affordable art stays fresh by renewing its six selectors every year, each of whom are chosen for their breadth of knowledge of the arts world. Two critics, two artists, and two collectors are given the opportunity to individually curate their own space within the Mall Galleries.

The 2007 selectors are as follows: collectors Davina McCall and Dame Stephanie Shirley; artists Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Jennifer McRae; and critics Charles Saumarez Smith and Drusilla Beyfus. Each selector curates one section of the exhibition, drawing from works submitted by the public, and the works of artists they have personally invited to exhibit. All six sections have distinct personalities.

The ING Discerning Eye is an art buyer’s dream. The 20-inch size limit ensures all art remains in the domestic, highly affordable scale. The hard work has already been done for the buyer; the selectors consider over 2,000 works of art from open submissions. Charles Saumarez Smith comments ‘I have always enjoyed the process of choosing works of art without knowing who they are by: the equivalent of blind tasting of wine. One is compelled to judge works only by what they look like, not by their associations.’

Further to selecting from open submissions, the selectors also invite artists they know to take part. ‘Not only is The ING Discerning Eye unusual in showcasing small art, it’s also unique among juried exhibitions in forcing its selectors to stand up for their personal taste. You get a wall and a spotlight and have to live with the consequences.’ Laura Gascoigne comments on her experience as selector in 2006.

The charm of The ING Discerning Eye exhibition lies in the unpredictability and variety of the selectors' choice of works, providing the opportunity for unknown and extremely well established artists working in different mediums and styles to show alongside each other.

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition runs from 15 – 25 November 2007 at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1Y 5BD, 10am – 5pm daily. Admission free. Nearest tube: Charring Cross. Gallery reception: 0207 968 0962


The Sponsors

ING Wholesale Banking in the UK is delighted to sponsor The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition for the second year of our ongoing three-year sponsorship commitment (2006-2008), which itself continues a relationship going back to the year 2000. ING is proud to support one of the most important independent exhibitions in the UK and appreciates the Discerning Eye’s commitment to individuality, excellence and increasing opportunities for artists across the UK.

ING Wholesale Banking is one of the six businesses of ING Group and is responsible for providing financial products and services to corporate and institutional clients across Europe, the Americas and Asia. Headquartered in Amsterdam, ING Group is one of the world's largest financial institutions, providing a wide range of financial services.

The Selectors


Sarah Armstrong-Jones is a painter. She studied at Camberwell College of Arts 1982-83, and then on to the Royal Academy Schools, 1985-91. She is represented by the Redfern Gallery, and has also shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Discerning Eye.

Jennifer McRae graduated with First Class Honours from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen, in 1992, and has been working as a practicing artist since. Exhibiting extensively across the UK and abroad, she has received awards in several UK open exhibitions.


Davina McCall, UK television presenter, is a keen collector of contemporary art. Starting her career on MTV, Davina has moved on to present for Comic Relief, the BAFTAs and Big Brother.

Dame Stephanie Shirley, founder and Life President of Xansa plc, set up the charitable Shirley Foundation in 1996. Its current focus is research into the causes of autism. Stephanie has a £3million art collection on permanent loan to Prior’s Court School for pupils with autism.


Charles Saumarez Smith became Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy in September of this year, having moved on from his post as director of the National Gallery. In addition, he is also a visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London.

Drusilla Beyfus is Contributing Editor on the Daily Telegraph Magazine where she writes on photography, the arts and general interest subjects. For the past decade she has been a tutor at St Martin's College of Art. She is the author of many books on etiquette including Modern Manners.

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2007 will run in the Mall Galleries, London SW1 from 15 November to 25 November 2007. For further information, and images of previous winning entries, contact Hannah Leonard at Parker Harris: or 01372 462190