Artist Jon Ching is mesmerized by the beautiful plumage of birds. He celebrates their incredible markings and colors in dreamlike paintings that fuse animals with other parts of nature—and sometimes other creatures, too. In one instance, small red birds replace the bulbous blooms on tropical plants. Another of Ching’s oil artworks presents a stately portrait of a turquoise-colored bird whose layers of feathers morph into leaves punctuated by yellow flowers. Both are exquisite examples of how the traditional subject of bird art can continually be reinvented into something brand new.
Ching became interested in our winged friends after receiving a bird photography book as a gift. “Their complexity and prowess in flight was fascinating to me and I was hooked,” he recalls to My Modern Met. By combining their distinctive appearances with his imaginative approach to image-making, he is paying homage to both birds and the world at large. “My surreal portraits come out of my appreciation of nature’s interconnectedness and adaptation and replacing things that looked similar, like visual synonyms,” he explains. “Nature is already insanely diverse and surreal, so it was a natural course for me to create my own creatures, imagining the boundless magic of the natural world.”
If you’re local to Los Angeles, you can see Ching’s work in person. He’ll be having a “mini solo show” titled Succession at Corey Helford Gallery that is on view from January 25 through February 29, 2020.