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Ray Ching in his studio

Born in 1939 in Wellington, Raymond Ching is renowned as New Zealand’s leading contemporary bird and figure painter. Ching has been called an “artist’s artist” and among bird painters is a draughtsman without peer. A renowned artist of life-like portraits in the wildlife genre, he paints obsessively to push the boundaries of his artistic practice.

Ching began exhibiting his bird paintings in the 1960s. His first exhibition Thirty Birds, in 1968 was a sell out, attracting the attention of Sir William Collins of Collins Publishing. Sir William, a keen ornithologist, invited Ching to the United Kingdom to produce a book of his bird paintings. However, upon his arrival Ching came into contact with the publishers of The Reader’s Digest who, along with Collins Publishing, intended to produce a major book on the birds of Britain. Ching was commissioned to paint 230 full-colour studies. The Reader’s Digest Book of British Birds, published in 1969, became the world’s most successful and biggest selling ornithological book. This enthusiastic reception led Ching to produce a series of natural history books. Eleven books documenting his paintings have been published  including: ‘The Bird Paintings‘, 1978, ‘Studies & Sketches of a Bird Painter‘, 1981,’The Art of Raymond Ching‘, 1981, ‘Wild Portraits‘, 1988, and ‘Ray Harris Ching’.

In 2010 Ray Ching ventured into the genre of graphic novels with the first publication by David Bateman Publishing, ‘Aesop’s Kiwi Fables-Painting’ by Ray Ching. This publication accompanied his first of two exhibitions at ARTIS Gallery (2010, and 2012). In 2014, ‘Dawn Chorus‘ was published (also by Bateman Publishing) and accompanied another two further exhibitions at ARTIS in 2014 and 2015. Ching’s most recent book ‘Aesop’s Outback Fables’  was published in 2018 by Artis Gallery.

In 2012 Ching was commissioned by Sir David Attenborough to paint a large oil work which was used to illustrate the cover of Attenborough’s latest book, Drawn from Paradise. For Attenborough Ray Ching completed a 1.8 x 2.4 m oil on canvas titled, ‘End to the Squandering of Beauty’ (Entry of the Birds of Paradise into Western Thought).

Living in Wiltshire, UK, Ching continues to paint birds and animals, as well as remarkably life-like portraits. Working primarily in oils and watercolours, Ching’s works are incredibly detailed with an almost photographic quality. Merging realism with fictional compositions, Ching slowly builds up his paintings layer upon layer, often leaving the under drawing peeking through the transparent paint.

Ching exhibits regularly in New Zealand and around the world. Venues include the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin; Brighton Art Gallery and Museum, England; the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia; and in Johannesburg. His paintings are held in numerous private and public collections, such as those of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in the USA, and portraits from his exhibition A True Story are held in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS AT ARTIS

2019 – The Voyage. ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2018 – Aesop’s Outback Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2015 – Dawn Chorus – The Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2014 – Dawn Chorus, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2012 – Aesop’s Kiwi Fables (part 2) ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2010 – Aesop’s Kiwi Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2008 – Autobiography, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2007 – Ark, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland
2005 – The Last Tree Fell, Artis Gallery, Auckland

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

2018 – Aesop’s Outback Fables, Artis Gallery, 280 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
2014 – Dawn Chorus, Bateman, David, Auckland
2012 – Drawn From Paradise: The Discovery, Art and Natural History of the Birds of Paradise, Collins, Harper, Introduction by Sir David Attenborough and Errol Fuller, London
2012 – Aesop’s Kiwi Fables, Bateman, David, paintings Ray Ching, Introduction by Richard Wolfe, Auckland 
1994 – Ray Harris-Ching: Voice from the Wilderness, Lang, David and Raymond Harris-Ching, Auckland
1991 – Nature in Art, Tomlinson, David., London
1990 – Ray Harris-Ching, Journey of an Artist (Masters of the Wild), Smith, Carol Sinclair, South Carolina
Kiwis, A Monograph of the Apterygidae, Fuller, Errol (ed.), Auckland
1988 – Painting Birds, Rayfield, Susan, New York
Wild Portraits, Paintings and Drawings by Raymond Harris-Ching, Hansard, Peter, Auckland 
1986 – New Zealand Birds, An Artist’s Field-Studies, Harris-Ching, Raymond, Auckland
Twentieth Century Wildlife Artists, Hammond, Nicholas, New York
1985 – Wildlife Painting: Techniques of Modern Masters, Rayfield, Susan, New York
1981 – The Art of Raymond Ching, Hansard, Peter, Auckland
Studies & Sketches of a Bird Painter, Harris-Ching, Raymond, Melbourne
1978 – Raymond Ching, The Bird Paintings, Snow, David, A.H Chisholm and M.F. Soper. , London and Auckland
1969 – Book of British Birds, Reader’s Digest, The Reader’s Digest A.A., London, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974 1977, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1992

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2019 – The Voyage. ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2018 – Aesop’s Outback Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2015 – Dawn Chorus – The Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2014 – Dawn Chorus, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2012 – Aesop’s Kiwi Fables (part 2) ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2010 – Aesop’s Kiwi Fables, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2008 – Autobiography, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland 2007 – Ark, ARTIS Gallery, Auckland Constellation, The Tryon Gallery, London 2005 – The Last Tree Fell, Artis Gallery, Auckland 2004 – Ray Ching: Bird Paintings, Pacific Galleries, LaFayette, California 2002 – Ray Ching: Measured Drawings, Tinakori Gallery, Wellington; John Leech Gallery, Auckland 2001 – Ray Ching: Fragments, 10 Paintings, Tinakori Gallery, Wellington; John Leech Gallery, Auckland 2000 – Ray Ching: Paintings, (A True Story), Tinakori Gallery, Wellington; Jonathan Grant Galleries, Auckland 1998 – Ray Ching: A True Story, Tryon & Swann Gallery, London Ray Ching: A True Story, Rye Gallery, England Ray Ching: Puzzles & Fragments, 10 Paintings, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 1997 – Beds, 8 Paintings by Ray Ching, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 1996 – Ray Harris Ching, Recent Paintings, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 1994 – Voice from the Wilderness, paintings and drawings, The Tryon Gallery, London The SAPPI Commission, paintings and drawings, The Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Southern African Bird Portraits, The SAPPI Collection, Central City Gallery, London, England 1993 – Recent Paintings & Drawings, The Tryon Gallery, London 1989 – Paintings & Drawings, Charlotte H. Gallery, Auckland Drawings of New Zealand Birds, Charlotte H. Gallery, Auckland 1988 – Wild Portraits, Rye Art Gallery, England; The Tryon & Moorland Galleries, London; The Australian Galleries / The Tryon Gallery, Melbourne, Australia 1986 – The Gilded Triptych & Recent Wildlife Paintings, The Tryon & Moorland Galleries, London 1982 – Ray Ching: Paintings & Drawings, International Art Centre, Auckland Bird Paintings & Sketches, Tryon & Moorland Galleries, London 1980 – Paintings, International Art Centre, Auckland 1977 – Ray Ching: Recent Paintings & Drawings, Rye Gallery, England; International Art Centre, Auckland 1976 – Drawings, The Falcon Gallery, Auckland 1967 – Studies of New Zealand Wildlife, John Leech Gallery, Auckland 1966 – Thirty Birds, John Leech Gallery, Auckland Drawings of New Zealand Birds, Charlotte H. Gallery, Auckland SELECTED COLLECTIONS Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand Suter Gallery Nelson, New Zealand Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua, New Zealand Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA National Museum of Wildlife Art, USA Estate of Daniel M. Galbreath; The Amin Shah Gallery
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