2008 by Vincent Chong
Taking Flight, like many of Chong’s designs, is warmed with this wonderfully orange burnt amber, an injection of autumnal brilliance that encourages a fantastical viewpoint. We look at the world through gold-tinted glasses; dream-like the scene appears drained of the colours of realism. In this image the colour is all the more emphasised with the sky; as the clouds billow and waft, their ominous patches of darkness and shafts of light are articulated through the depths and tones of bronze, a fittingly theatrical palette for the drama of the sky. This is apt in a scene of ‘taking flight’, where all emphasis is on the longed for and magical act of soaring through the air. Possessing the skies is every man’s dream and the figures here are determined to try; one tying birds to each of his limbs, the other strapping his back with balloons, and the last approaching the precipice with what appears to be the fragile wings of a butterfly. The subtlety and beauty of these wings is juxtaposed with his comical leather cap and goggles, which is all but naturally inspired and summons the images of countless previous historical attempts (those magnificent men in their flying machines). As if this wasn’t enough birds soar in the bottom foreground, taunting man’s attempts with their ease of gliding through the sky; they surge forward diagonally from the bottom-centre carrying the aero-dynamic composition that governs this literally uplifting image.