A seahorse nestles in amongst cherry blossoms, and a cone of violet flowers morph from a glistening amethyst in Jon Ching’s uncanny ecologies. In jewel-toned oil paintings, the Los Angeles-based artist’s hybrid creatures sport regal headdresses or merge their bodies with gems and crystals. He often focuses on a central character in a contradictory environment, such as an owl among gourds, a flamingo wading between cacti in a wetland, or a bird hatching from a Fabergé egg.
Recently, Ching started creating what he describes as “quieter” compositions, panning out from central portraits to unveil the enigmatic wonder of nature as a whole. Landscapes and the details of the animals’ surroundings take precedence and sometimes border on optical illusions, like the luna moths tucked in with ginkgo leaves in “Nagamorphose” or a dewy spider web made of diamonds in “Arachnitite.” Increasingly highlighting species that are misunderstood or get a bad rap, his new paintings “are less about the animal itself and more about the beauty that exists in the world,” he says in a recent article in American Art Collector, sharing that he wants to “push back against our cultural biases about certain animals.”
Many of these pieces are part of Ching’s solo exhibition Terra Brio at Haven Gallery on Long Island, which continues through June 4. He also just released a print edition of “In Plain Sight,” which you can find in his shop. Discover more of his work on his website, and follow him on Instagram for updates and insights into his process.