Modern Ink: The Art of Wu Changshi
- About the Book
The Modern Ink Series is a set of scholarly monographs on major ink painters of China’s “Modern” era. Starting with the First Opium War in 1840 and ending with the start of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the “Modern” era was characterized by profound social, cultural, and political upheaval as China transformed itself from a feudalistic monarchy to a modern nation-state. China’s great thinkers and artists kept pace with its transformation, reinventing its art and culture as quickly and dramatically as the society changed itself. The resulting body of art brought the five-thousand-year-old culture into the modern age and today provides contemporary China with a direct link to its ancient cultural roots. Wu Changshi (1844–1927) rose to the forefront of the Jinshi, or “epigraphic,” movement in calligraphy and painting at the close of the Qing dynasty. His inventive method of adapting the rugged strength of ancient engraved texts to his own brushwork reinvigorated Chinese art through a reconnection with its earliest roots. In bold xieyi or free-style flower-and-bird scenes and landscapes, he fully integrated the four disciplines of painting, calligraphy, poetry, and seal carving. The third volume of the Modern Ink series, Modern Ink: The Art of Wu Changshi includes an introductory essay on Wu Changshi’s life and artistic background by Britta Erickson followed by a study of the painter’s students, followers, and far-reaching legacy by Deng Feng. In-depth analyses of 29 works of art represent the collaborative efforts of noted scholars from both China and the United States. Three appendices provide a chronology of the artist’s life, an examination of his seal carving, and bilingual glosses of his poems.
- Britta Erickson received her Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from Stanford University and serves as co-author and series editor. Erickson is an independent scholar and curator. Her doctoral dissertation investigates patronage modes in the career of the mid-nineteenth-century Shanghai School artist Ren Xiong. She has taught at major universities, publishes and lectures widely, and has curated important exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art. Dr. Erickson now serves as artistic director at INK Studio, a Beijing gallery devoted to contemporary ink artists, and includes among her current projects the production of a film series, The Enduring Passion for Ink.
- Craig L. Yee, founding director of the art space INK Studio in Beijing, has played a central organizational and editorial role in research projects for exhibitions on Chinese painting, including New Songs on Ancient Tunes (Honolulu Academy of Arts), Selected Masterworks of Modern Chinese Painting (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing), and Alternative Dreams (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). His research interests include the visual semiotics of ink art. He co-authored The Art of Qi Baishi and The Art of Xugu in The Mozhai Foundation’s Modern Ink series and has published monographs on Zheng Chongbin and Chen Haiyan in the D.A.P. Contemporary Ink Series. He holds BA degrees in economics and symbolic systems and an MBA from Stanford University.