Mian Situ, 2019 featured artist
California Images & History – April 26, 27 & 28, 2019
This year, the Festival is thrilled to welcome as its Featured Artist, the magnificent work of Mian Situ. Situ is truly a master storyteller. His works are skillfully painted, beautifully designed, and depict provocative and complex narratives. It is as though you are reading a book when you look at Situ’s works—a book where the narrative is purely visual. There are no words, but the images themselves evoke such emotion and are so purely rendered that there is little question as to their meaning. It is no wonder that Mian Situ has earned such prestigious designations as a Master of Western Art, a Signature Member of the Art Club of California, and a Master Signature member of the Oil Painters of America.
Situ is a perfect combination of Eastern and Western culture. He was born and raised for the first half of his life in the Guangdong Province in China. His formal artistic training was through the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Art, where he holds a Master’s Degree. His early years included working as a freelance illustrator and as a tutor at the Art Institute. While many of his early works depict the daily life and people of China, his style of painting was influenced not by typical Chinese or Eastern art, but rather by contemporary Russian and European art. His main teacher and mentor at the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Art, Shao Gang Guo, had personally spent several years in Russia studying art, and taught the fundamental techniques and theory—then in practice in Russia—to Situ. It was from these roots that Situ began his journey to depict the story and meaning behind the scene, rather than dwelling on the scene itself.
In 1987, Situ immigrated to North America. He spent a short time in Canada and eventually relocated his family to Southern California, where he has worked in various positions as an artist, gallery owner, tutor, and instructor.
Oil has been and continues to be Situ’s primary medium in his work. His palette is very straightforward and his color choices are deeply rooted in nature. His use of light is secondary to his strong compositional designs. Virtually all of his figurative work is from life, and his studio is set up to encourage a comfortable and warm environment for both the artist and the model. Situ’s works are from his heart. He paints themes and scenes that are meaningful to him and that provoke a sense of emotion within him. By working in this manner he feels that he can always focus his attention on creating a sense of emotion and atmosphere for the viewer. Situ describes the “sense of story” in his work as the main difference between his Russian influence and the typical compositions in most typical Western art.
Many of Situ’s paintings reflect complex historical scenes and portray life in the West during its formative years. To accurately set the stage for these scenes, Situ meticulously researches the history, dress, tools, and way of life of the time period. From here, he designs the composition and the value structure for his paintings. As a last step, he utilizes live models in his compositions in order to create his lifelike realism. A tour of his studio is like going to the library—only here, the resource materials are Situ’s paintings. He works to strike a very careful balance between the strength of the composition and the individuals in the paintings, finding subtle harmony between the level of detail in any section of the work and the balance of color and light. He wants the viewer to be engaged, to be drawn into the scenes, and to never feel bored while looking at any section of his paintings. Mian Situ might speak gently, but the impact of his work is loud and declarative. Each piece holds a story just waiting to be explored. Any visitor who has the pleasure of experiencing his works in San Dimas will leave feeling as though they have walked their own trek through history!
There is something for everyone in this show. Come meet all of the artists and experience the wide array of styles and depictions, all showcasing the beauty of the state of California. You won’t want to miss this show! — by Angela Koenig
More images available on Mian Situ’s website: Mian Situ