Winner of the Best of Show in 1995 at the Oil Painters of America, Mian
Situ made his art debut in the United States at that time. He is
Chinese born and, having traveled extensively in that country, he
creates impressionist paintings that focus on depicting the everyday
life of the people he knows.
Situ studied at the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts where he had basic
academic training. However, during the Cultural Revolution in the
mid 1980s, he was ordered to work as a film projectionist for
propaganda films. Later he returned to the Institute to graduate.
wanted to study art in America and arrived in Los Angeles in 1987. He
worked in a commercial gallery where he copied European paintings for
75 dollars per painting.
American Artist, February 2002
Mian Situ, b. 1953, Canton, China
Born in Southern China, Mian Situ's received his formal art training in his native homeland of Guangdong, formerly Canton. During his schooling, he experimented with various artistic styles such as impressionism, post-impressionism and expressionism. He was also deeply influenced by the 19th Century European Academic Realism that traveled to Russia and was eventually imported to China. His academic training is a result of western influences that were prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, and available only to talented young Chinese. After teaching at the institute for six years, Situ moved to Canada where he became a citizen and lived for ten years before reaching the United States.
Situ's paintings clearly reflect his upbringing in the rural countryside of his native China. His deep-toned impressionistic paintings of the backcountry often focus on people going about their daily lives in their small villages and farming communities. Despite leaving China in 1987, the rural countryside life of his youth is one that is still deeply rooted within him. Situ's paintings often combine elements of the young and old, which he sees as symbolic of the passage of time. He endeavors to capture the dignity and quiet beauty of the traditional way of life and dress that is eminently disappearing. Situ's artistic versatility is also evident in his exquisite portraiture, as well as his more recent works inspired by western historical themes and American landscapes.
• BFA, MFA, Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
• National Museum of Wildlife Art, Western Visions, Jackson, WY, 2014
• Trailside Galleries, East Meets West, Scottsdale, AZ, 2006-2014
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Los Angeles, CA, 2001-2014
• Trailside Galleries, Mian Situ-Colors of the Shaoshu Minzu, April 2013
• Western Art Collector, March, 2013
• Southwest Art, May, 2012
• Art of the West, January/February 2011
• Western Art Collector, December, 2010
• Southwest Art, December, 2009
• Art of the West, May/June, 2007
• Fine Art Connoisseur, January, 2006
• American Art Collector, September, 2006
• Art of the West, April, 2005
• Western Art Collector, October, 2007
• Western Art & Architecture, Fall/Winter, 2008
• California Art Club-
• Oil Painters of America-Signature Member
• Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Purchase Award, Los Angeles, CA, 2009
• Autry National Center, Gene Autry Memorial Award, Los Angeles, CA, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Patron's Choice, Los Angeles, CA, 2006
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Thomas Moran Memorial, Los Angeles, CA, 2004
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Patron's Choice, Los Angeles, CA, 2004
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Thomas Moran Memorial, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Artist's Choice, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Patron's Choice, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Thomas Moran Memorial, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Purchase Award, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Patron's Choice, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
• Oil Painters of America, Gold Medal 2000
• Oil Painters of America, Gold Medal, 1999
• Oil Painters of America, Best of Show, 1995
• Oil Painters of America, People's Choice Award
• Carmel Art Festival, Best of Show, 2000
• California Art Club, Artist's Choice Award
• Arts for the Parks, Top 100
American artist Mian Situ was born in 1953 in China’s southeast province of Guongdong (formerly Canton) in the capital city of Guangzhou. At the age of thirteen an artist friend introduced him to art. Situ recalls, “The process [of painting] amazed me and ultimately gave me a channel to release energy.”
As part of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Chairman Mao locked the libraries and destroyed many works of art, and hid information pertaining to other cultures. Situ’s first exposure to European classical art was when a friend with a set of keys to a library opened the door and showed Situ art books from the Italian Renaissance. The next two years Situ spent copying from these books and then, drawing from life, absorbing everything he possibly could about painting.
With his apparent drawing skills, Situ was accepted into the official Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA) where he studied from 1972 to 1975, earning a Bachelor’s degree. Classes during these years followed the time-honoured curriculum established in the academies of 19th century Paris and adopted by Russian art academies where traditional realism developed into Socialist Realism, and became the official style of art in China. One of Situ’s professors at GAFA was Guo Shao-gang, a former student of the Russian master Yuri M. Neprintsev. (Guo Shao-gang eventually became Dean of GAFA.)
After completing his Bachelor’s Degree, in keeping with the Cultural Revolution, Situ was then given a mandatory three-year assignment to work in the countryside, in his case as a projectionist showing propaganda films. But in 1978, Situ was invited back to GAFA and with this round of training, with Mao’s death in 1976, and the educational reforms associated with the Revolution abandoned, he was now free to study the work of modern masters and experimented with a variety of painting approaches, settling finally on, as he says simply, “my own style.”
After graduation Mian Situ then taught at the Guangzhou Academy for six years. With this post he took full advantage of his time off, sketching and photographing the inhabitants and daily life of rural Chinese villages in south-western China. He was raised in such a village in Canton.
Situ arrived in Los Angeles in 1987, but soon moved to Canada, first to Vancouver and then to Toronto. From Toronto, he submitted one of his paintings to the 1995 National Juried Exhibition of Oil Painters of America’s and won the Best of Show award. Encouraged by his first American success, he decided to return to Los Angeles in 1998 where he currently resides with his daughter Lisa.
Situ joined the California Art Club in 1999, and the following year his 24? x 20? painting, A Quite Day, was selected for the Gold Medal Award by the exhibiting artists at the 90th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition. Also in 2000, Situ won the Judge’s Choice Award and the Purchase Award at the Arts for the Parks competition, and he also received Best of Show at the Carmel Art Festival. In 2001 he was invited to exhibit in the Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and the following year, he achieved the remarkable honour of garnering the Museum Purchase Award and the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Artistic Merit, as well as the Patron’s Choice Award. Situ continues to consistently win major awards.
Mian Situ was born in the South of China and grew up during the Mao Cultural Revolution. The turmoil of the Mao regime inadvertently fostered a career that Situ could not have anticipated.
Unlike so many artists who know early on what they want to do, Situ showed no interest in art until he was 13, the year that ushered in the revolution. That interest was generated by a friend who was artistically talented. "I envied him and his ability to take a pen and draw whatever he wanted," Situ says. "The process amazed me and ultimately gave me a channel to release energy. I knew nothing about art, hadn't studied it or read any books but, when I watched my friend copy Mao's photograph, I was intrigued."
Although any references to Western ideas were forbidden by the Mao regime, Situ was able to get hold of an art book in an old library, and discovered the glories of the Italian Renaissance. Under the restrictions of the regime, Situ continued his art education, teaching himself and reading extensively.
After six years, he was able to begin formal studies at the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Art. Situ spent three years there, initially learning under the Russian approach to the study of art. Although many of the instructors had studied in Russia, "they couldn't teach Western ideas directly, so what they said wasn't necessarily what they meant."
After graduation, Situ was sent back to his home and assigned a job as an assistant projectionist at a cinema. He held that job for three years, painting murals on an outside wall. The revolution ended in 1976, and two years later, Situ returned to the institute for post-graduate work, completing his studies in 1981 and earning a Master's degree. Finally able to study Western ideas, Situ found himself longing to travel, although he taught at the institute for six years before he became too restless to continue.
In 1987, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he studied English. He supported himself by copying works of old masters. Situ then moved to Calgary, Canada, and then Vancouver. There, he painted in Stanley Park to support himself before moving on to Toronto. Three years later, Situ returned to the United States, and entered a painting into the Oil Painters of America show. It won first price of $10,000, but more importantly, affirmed his credibility as a painter.
Now a known and acclaimed painter, Situ moved to San Dimas, California, eventually venturing into Western art. This move resulted in an invitation to participate in the 2001 Masters of the American West Show held by the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, California, a show at which he now exhibits regularly.
Reference: "Art of the West" July/August 2001
Born in Southern China, Mian Situ received his formal art training in his native homeland of Guangdong, formerly Canton. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the prestigious Guangzhou Institute of Fine Art. After instructing for six years, he earned a Masters in Fine Art. Immigrating to Canada, then later moving to the United States, Mian's paintings clearly reflect his upbringing in the rural countryside of his native China. His artistic diversification of subject matter, from the people of the small villages and farming communities going about their daily lives to the exquisite portraitures as well as his most recent works inspired by western historical themes and American landscapes, all reflect the sensitive dedication of this Master Artist.
Mian has been recognized with many national art awards. During the 2002 Masters of the American West exhibition and sale at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles California, Mian Situ received the Masters of the American West Museum Purchase Award, the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Artistic Merit and the Patron's Choice Award. In 2003, Mian was honored with the Thomas Moran Memorial Award, Artist's Choice Award and Patron's Choice Award. Most recently, in 2005, Mian was presented with the Artist's Choice Award for his painting, The Word of God. He lives with his wife, Helen and daughter, Lisa in Southern California.