Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MASTER OF THE AMERICAN WEST




Mian Situ
From americanlegacyfinearts.com


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.
(AMERICAN LEGACY FINE ARTS at americanlegacyfinearts.com)

Mian Situ
From data.fineartstudioonline.com
Mian Situ recieved his formal art training in his native homeland of Guangdong. 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 upbrining 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 portraiture as well as his most recent works inspired by western historical themes and American landscapes, all reflect the sensitive dedication of this master artist.
(Borsini-Burr Galleries at .borsini-burr.com)


Chinatown Market, San Francisco
From galleryone.com


“This is a typical Chinese market in old Chinatown, above, right here in America. In a market like this, one could find the ingredients for the same food they ate in China and prepare it in exactly the same way. The market looked very similar to those in my childhood hometown in Southern China, where I was often sent on errands, so this painting was inspired by both personal childhood memories and late-19th century photographs of San Francisco”. – Mian Situ.
(galleryone.com)


Chinese Flower Shop, San Francisco
From greenwichworkshop.com


The titles of several of Situ’s San Francisco Chinatown paintings include the dates 1904, 1905 and 1906. The early 20th century was a pivotal time for this community. Chinatown was a vibrant commercial center where goods and services between the two cultures were exchanged and the success of the Chinese drew some negative attention as well. Anti-Chinese immigration laws had been passed and renewed and in 1904, a publicly traded company was incorporated with the goal of acquiring most of the land in Chinatown and dislocating the residents to an outlying area. This goal seemed easily achievable after the earthquake and fire of 1906. Chinatown was one of the worst hit areas and the Chinese-American businessmen and landlords organized to rebuild quickly. That effort, combined with the recognition of the economic value of Chinatown and international pressure, served to ensure that San Francisco’s Chinese community would stay in the neighborhood they had started back in the Gold Rush days of the mid-19th century. “In this painting (above)I focused on the two Chinese children's expressions as they encountered an American girl” said the artist. “In my Chinatown scenes, I always try to incorporate an element of cultural crossroads.” – Mian Situ.
(The Greenwich Workshop at greenwichworkshop.com)


A Group of Chinese Children Rendered Homeless
Earthquake and Fire
From alamedainfo.com


Chinese Family Lost their Home
Earthquake and Fire
From alamedainfo.com


The old postcards of San Francisco (above) provide a great visual look back at San Francisco's history. These post cards are from around 1900-1905. These photographs were taken in black and white (color photography did not exist then) and the color was added later by an artist.
(alamedainfo.com)


Calico Dress
From cuadernoderetazos.files.wordpress.com


Because of the circumstances of turn-of-the-century Chinese immigrants to America, many of them had few alternatives to mining, working in restaurants or laundries. Operating a laundry required relatively little capital, education or English fluency. Often times, entire families lived crammed together in the back of their laundry storefronts. While the parents worked, the children helped however they could. It was hot, 14-hour-per-day work and after lunch the young man ironing struggles to stay alert while the mother does the mending. Chinese culture, food and clothing may have been replicated in Chinatowns on the West Coast, yet everything around the tight-knit communities was different. "I posed the daughter curiously trying on the Calico Dress (above) brought in by their American customer", says the artist. Is she wondering what it feels like to be an American girl or is it only a strange costume?
(The Greenwich Workshop at greenwichworkshop.com)

Mian Situ
From scottburdick.com
Mian Situ appears to be part of a remarkable cultural transference. This transference occurred when 19th-century European academic realism traveled to Russia under the reign of the Czars. There it developed in the service of Communism as Socialist Realism and was later imported to Mao's China. Western oil painting techniques were fostered in the People's Republic during the Cultural Revolution and were subsequently available to talented and hardworking young Chinese. Situ was one of the best, and when he emigrated to the West, he brought his skills with him. Mian Situ’s debut in the United States began with the 1995 Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition, in which the judges recognized his exceptional talent and awarded him the $10,000 Best of Show award. He was also voted the People’s Choice Award recipient by collectors. Mian’s artistic genius has gained him an impressive and loyal following. Since that time, collectors throughout the country have avidly sought his work. Known for his depictions of rural China, Mian strives to capture the dignity and beauty in the everyday lives of it's people. He feels a strong need, as a painter, to preserve their traditional ways of life and dress before they are lost. “My paintings always tell stories,” Mian says. “I have spent many years traveling throughout China, taking photographs and studying the people . . . trying to capture the rhythm of their lives.” Situ has further continued to impress collectors with his amazing versatility, venturing out into areas of portraiture and California landscape. Whatever the subject, his fluency of brushwork, subtlety of palette (especially in light reflected into shadow) and empathic portraiture are unsurpassed.
(MIAN SITU FINE ART at miansitu.net)


The Uninvited, Angels Camp, California
From stanprokopenko.com



Second Helping Oil on Canvas
From Autry National Center at theautry.org


As for subject matter, Situ's work falls mostly into three categories: (1) landscapes (2) pictures of Chinese in rural Chinese settings (3) historical western American scenes. The paintings featuring people tend to be "illustrations" in that something is happening; his work is not simply design or decoration. Usually a psychological overtone is present, especially in the American West scenes, though that overtone tends to be muted.
(Posted by Donald, June 19, 2006 at Fine Art Studio Online at 2blowhards.com)



The Entrepreneur
From brooksartprints.com


Artist Mian Situ’s inspiration for The Entrepreneur, above, a portrait-within-a-portrait, came from a real photograph dating from the 1890s. Like many recent arrivals to the United States, the man against the backdrop would have wanted something from America to send to his family overseas and a photograph such as this was common. Situ speculates that the flower in the Chinese man’s hand was most likely the photographer’s idea, as a Chinese man would not have thought to hold a flower in something as important as a photograph. However, in an attempt to learn and fit in with the customs of their new country, such a man (and his family) would be inclined to do what was asked of them or what they were told “should be done in America.” This man and his family have arrived in traditional Chinese dress for their visit to the “modern” American photo studio. The joining of old and new worlds, of east and west, is a central theme in Situ’s work.
(brooksartprints.com)


Canyon de Chelly North Eastern Arizona
From picturethisgallery.com


The location of this new release by Mian Situ is Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona (above). Today it is a Navajo Tribal Trust land and home to the preserved ruins of the early Anasazi and Navajo tribes. “When I was in Canyon de Chelly,” says Situ, “I saw a beautiful rainbow after a storm. The Navajo people believe that the gods travel on the rainbow because it moves so rapidly. They also portray the rainbow as the bridge between the human world and the other side. Navajo people have lived in Canyon de Chelly for generations and are still living there today, herding sheep and cattle and farming the land.”
(picturethisgallery.com)


The Powder Monkeys, Cape Horn
MasterWork™
Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Giclée Canvas
From hornartgallery.com


The California Gold Rush and the opening of the West drove economic interest and demand for a Transcontinental Railroad. In 1863, the Union Pacific began laying track from Omaha to the west while the Central Pacific Railroad Company headed east from Sacramento, California. The two rails would eventually connect on an historic day in May, 1869 in Promontory, Utah. The Central Pacific, plagued by labor and financial problems, laid down only 50 miles of track in the first two years. To compound their problems, the construction path now faced treacherous terrain that rose 7,000 feet into the high Sierras. In his painting, The Powder Monkeys, above, artist Mian Situ honors the Chinese laborers who, in 1865, were hired for $28 per month to do the very dangerous work of blasting tunnels and laying tracks. The Chinese, using techniques they learned at home, were lowered in baskets by rope from the top of cliffs. They hand drilled holes into the granite and packed them with black powder (and later nitroglycerine) to blast tunnels. Many workers risked their lives and perished in the harsh winters and dangerous conditions.
(The jerry W Horn Gallery at hornartgallery.com)
The Powder Monkeys, Cape Horn, made its debut at the 2002 Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. It won the Master of the American West Award and was purchased for the permanent collection of the museum. It also won The Patrons’Choice Award and The Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting.
(Posted by Donald, June 19, 2006 at Fine Art Studio Online at 2blowhards.com)


Golden Mountain - Arriving San Francisco
lila-1's photostream at flickr.com


The Toymaker of Ross Alley San Francisco
From caiaffa.com


Ross Alley, Chinatown, San Francisco
Photo by Travis at calibersf.com


In 2003, Mian Situ’s Golden Mountain—Arriving San Francisco, 1865 received The Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting,The Artist’s Choice and The Patron’s Choice awards. In 2004 The Toy Maker of Ross Alley, San Francisco won The Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting while The Patrons’Choice Award went to his work Everybody Loves a Cowboy.
In 2005 Mian Situ was again awarded The Artist’s Choice Award, this time for his epic painting Word of God.
(Scott Usher, Publisher and President, The jerry W Horn Gallery at hornartgallery.com)
Mian Situ displays skill in spades. Besides being an excellent draftsman, his brushwork and use of color are impressive. All things considered, his color work is his strongest suit. Rather than using mostly pure colors, he often tones down much of a painting's surface by mixing in large proportions of complementary colors, this to help frame the areas of focus. And he maintains good overall color-key discipline. He is skillful in defining objects using just the right colors in the right places. Line work is essentially absent in his paintings which are built using color in a kind of Post-Impressionist manner.
(Posted by Donald, June 19, 2006 at Fine Art Studio Online at 2blowhards.com)


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