These lively chicks are the work of An Lin (b. 1930), an artist from Chengdu, Sichuan Province. She studied at the Sichuan Art Academy and is a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association. This is a shuiyin print – a woodcut printed in water-soluble ink.
I saw this print one year ago at the Ashmolean Museum, where it was included in their exhibition Michael Sullivan: A Life of Art and Friendship. Michael Sullivan received this work as a gift from the artist in Hangzhou in 1980.
I love how the delicate shading on the little birds conveys a sense of their lightness and fluffiness. The contrast between the pale tops of their heads and the much darker backdrop makes the image all the more vivid, and hints at their vulnerability. Still, the image has a very dynamic quality. You can imagine their quick movements and soft sounds - especially the characterful trio in the upper-left section, who seem to be interacting in a most human fashion.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
This work is currently in the research collection but can be viewed online.
Above: An Lin, Chicks, 1980. Colour woodcut print on paper. Height 27.8cm; width 32.5 cm. Ashmolean Museum. Image: Ashmolean Museum, at http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/object/LI2022.423.