I wanted to see this show because its title intrigued me. Why does Jonathan Ching need to search for Botero’s leg? It turns out that he intends for the exhibit to play on memories, random thoughts and experiences that cross his mind, including recollections
of his own past work. A favorite computer game, Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego, inspired the exhibit’s title, along with the show’s biggest piece.
In the first three panels of Living With Botero’s Leg, a multi-media quadriptych, Jon depicts distinctive footwear: two styles of cowboy boots and a pair of silk Chinese slippers for bound feet. None of them would suit the hefty proportions of a Fernando Botero subject, an approximation of which he places on the piece’s fourth panel. Here we find the elusive leg, portly as expected, cast in metal, and crowned with tin embellishments used for altarpieces. With this piece, Jon continues his series of incorporating objects within his paintings, a device he used extensively for his show at Blanc Compound in April.
Smaller canvases make up the rest of the show, most of them oval-shaped. Jon felt
that his personal reminiscences called for these intimate sizes. On two of these, Topiary Of My Mind and Chimes, he integrates sculpted blackbirds fabricated from polymer clay.
The pieces I find most interesting are the three free-standing sculpture of black swans that hearken to origami, the Japanese art of creating figures from folded paper. Constructed from GI sheets and finished with automotive paint, the swans reference his past work, an installation of numerous folded birds from his 2003 two-man show with Christina Dy at the now-defunct Surrounded By Water. I don’t exactly know how these three pieces fit in with his paintings, and perhaps they don’t. However, I think it would be great to see him take his origami sculpture further, explore different patterns, even experiment with textures. Maybe next time, at some future show, Jon can allow his sculpture to take center stage. But of course, I am usually more partial to sculpture. So perhaps my biases are showing.
Where In The World Is Botero’s Leg runs from 9 July to 2 August 2010 at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati. Phone (632) 813-2310 or visit http://www.finaleartfile.com or visit http://www.jonching.com