The fables of Aesop have a constant appeal that has kept them popular as book illustration from the fifteenth century, to the present time. From Francis Barlow (1687), Jean Baptiste Oudry (1755), Thomas Bewick (1784), J. J. Grandville (1838), Gustav Doré (1868), to Arthur Rackham (1916), Marc Chagall (1920) and Alexander Calder (1931), the fables have never fallen from view.
Ray Ching has re-worked them yet again, but for the first time their stories are played out in the Antipodes, in the islands of New Zealand. Here, the familiar Fox, Crow, Tortoise and Lion are replaced with their counterparts in Aotearoa; domestic cats must jump to the grapes, Tui are smarter than crows, the ancient Tuatara is every bit as dogged as the Tortoise to win his race in time over an idle Possum, and Kiwi can be both very smart and very foolish.
The 25 original paintings in this exhibition are the first of 48 plates in preparation for Ray Ching’s book, AESOP’S KIWI FABLES, to be published in 2011.
Ray Ching was born in New Zealand in 1939. He has worked in studios in Wellington, Auckland, Melbourne and London, and is presently living in the West Country of England. Ten books have been published on his startlingly realistic work in which he has explored a wide range of subjects, but he is best known for his paintings of birds.