ING Discerning Eye is a name I've heard before but I've never actually been to it before, so this year I went along. It is housed at the Mall Galleries, an often visited haunt of mine. I went on a wet Tuesday afternoon, and there was an eerie silence and lack of people to the event. At the time I though little of it but it appears the event has been mired in controversy.
The show is a very dense hang. It sepcialises in small works and they cluster together along the wall like wintering starlings. It makes it quite difficult to get a proper look, and frankly the impression I got was of a rather low quality. There were a few things I liked. I did not buy a catalog thinking that I would be able to find out the details of the artists online. Unfortunately not, and so this blog will delve into the realms of unhelpfullness by in many cases not being able to identify the artist. Still it will give you a feel for the show and help you maybe decide if you want to enter/visit.
So let the semi usefullness begin,. The first works to catch my eye were the two above left, everyday commuting scenes rendered by cutting out shapes from train tickets. Produced by 6/59 (whoever that is). Whoever you are they are very effective, simply done, well presented and I was not surprised to see that they had sold. I particularly like the way the high vis jacket in the top picture is done.
One if the interesting things about this show is the complete changes of tone and style often in the same wall, so just down from 6/59 we have a work by 6/52. It is again quite simply done and would appear to depict second world bombers, navigating flak with perhaps a few parachutes. It would appear to be charcoal.
Sculpture and ceramics this time, with this grecian/african head in a dark, rusty iron effect shape by 6/16. I like the way it has these winged shoulders. Next to is was this lustrous off white vase cut across with gold lines, that make it look like it has broken and then restored, which in this case works quite well. Then it is inscribed with these mathematical formula. It is intriguing. I would like to see it in different colours.
Moving on the boat scene above looks very familiar. There was a woman at the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the year heat with me who painted in a similar way, but painting over newspaper and other bits of text. Makes for this lovely deep background that is particularly effective when doing the reflection. The tonal contrast is good, the dark buildings and the bright almost.
I actually know who the one above right is by. Hildegard Pax is her name and she produces these pieces in cool pastel perspex pieces. I like them.
A collection of bronze dancing and wrestling figures. Dynamic and good movement to them (above left). Then also in bronze these almost head like abstract objects. Not much more to say about them really. Just look at them.
This dragonfly picture (above left) is more subtle than it looks, there are several beetles in the left hand corner and other than those 3 squares there is a smudged looking tree that is a very effective way of pushing it into the background.
Some pieces work best when arranged together, and there was one wall which seemed to have been much better curated in this regard with clusters of work. In the above right you have these line of mini sculpture things, which marry very well with the paintings displayed above them. It is here both because I like the arcing colours of the sculptures but I also the dark landscape in the top left with that river slicing through it.
Likewise very well presented are these pottery and ceramic pieces. I particularly like the three on the back row, especially the middle one with this curving expanding balloon shape with the black shapes and lines going down it.
Then to do the second piece you paint a scene and fold it up so that it makes sense. It is a wonderful and skillful thing and I am not surprised it one a prize.
In the north gallery were drawings, arranged together and some of them were excellent. The ones picture above, these are the ones that were excellent. Tonally sharp, crisp detailed landscapes, hostile landscapes beautifully done. They remind me of the HP Lovecraft story the mountains of madness.
Since seeing these two silhouettes of birds I have been trying endlessly to replicate them and it is very difficult to do, at least in a convincing fashion. To get such simple shapes to look like birds, to look like birds in flight is very impressive. The one the left especially.
Finally we have a perspex and metal cage. It reminds me of various sci-fi computers. Nostalgia is powerful things.
Sorry, this week wasn't very well written. This has been written on the back of a 40th birthday party (not mine). Does it show. Just a reminded my show is on at Beans Love Greens until 18th December where you can see things such as the below. Go along.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.