Mian Situ (b. 1953)
A true modern master, Mian Situ is best known for his illustrations of rural China and, conversely, the American West. Born in Canton (now Guangdong), China, Situ had little opportunity for art until his late teens. The Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong greatly hindered educational and artistic development in the People’s Republic. However, Western painting techniques were imported to China from Czarist Russia where 19th century European realism had developed into Socialist Realism under the Communist government. Upon Mao’s death in 1976, Situ completed both his Bachelors and Masters in Fine Art at the prestigious Guangzhou Institute of Fine Art, where he studied these classically Western techniques. This cultural transference led to the fusion of East and West that permeates Situ’s oeuvre.
Immigrating to Canada, and, later, to California, Situ brought his artistic talent to new subjects. He depicted the daily activities of rural farmers, painted urbanite portraits and historical American scenes, particularly of a Western theme, as well as landscapes. Often painting en plein air, Situ’s skills are diverse, and his imagery is widely appealing. His style is realistic but yet has an impressionistic, painterly flair, and his works have a narrative quality that is charged with emotion. His works are a combination of historical commentaries, glimpses of modern life, and powerful landscapes, all drawn from personal observation from his travels and his desire to preserve the beauty he sees.
The list of awards bestowed upon Situ is long. In 1995 he was recognized at the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition for “Best of Show,” as well as the People’s Choice award as voted by collectors. He was honored thrice at the 2002 Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage with the Master of the American West Award, the Thomas Moran Memorial Award, and the Patron’s Choice Award. His artistic talent has gained him many admirers, and collectors around the country avidly seek his work. He currently lives and works in Southern California with his wife and daughter.