Li Huayi’s signature style, inspired by landscape painting of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1126), is the result of his careful consideration of many periods and techniques, both Chinese and Western. Li studied traditional Chinese painting from a young age, but in his twenties he created socialist realist posters as a “worker artist” during the Cultural Revolution. In the early 1980s, he moved to San Francisco. Even though he uses compositional elements and brushstrokes employed by Chinese painters a thousand years ago, his paintings are contemporary in spirit, offering a peaceful visual retreat from a chaotic modern world. “I want myself inside, not outside, the landscape . . . embraced by these mountains where I can breathe the mountain air and touch the trees.”*
*Li Huayi, The Monumental Landscapes of Li Huayi (Asian Art Museum, 2004).