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Dai Shihe

51 Dai Shihe

Dai Shihe is an oil painter and a Professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He is currently an advisor to the Academic Committee of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Dai Shihe has drawn countless paintings over dozens of years. He has developed a way of “freehand oil painting” with his effort, which combines the “freehand” spirit of the Chinese painting and the expression of oil painting, he rewrites the emotion and a leisurely approach to “writing” when confronted with natural objects, to portray and shape the situation and vitality of “birth”. In his works, the intensity and richness of color is intertwined, highlighting the texture and charm of color; his brushwork is wide, varied and strong which conveys the emotional while shaping; he is innovative in the composition of screen, to create a lively and innovative visual structure...

“Dai Shihe is orientated to sketch through painting; perhaps it is because he likes this direct and fresh visual form and expression. As he says that, it is a fight hand-in-hand with real life, where there is no time for hesitating, being thoughtful or modifying, and it is necessary to come up with all the passions to attack one point in order to be effective. It is from the heart rather than hypocritical aesthetic demands, so that he has always been involved in a variety of fresh and cutting-edge experiments according to his own favorites in the process of painting, which is both done in the period of the ‘85 Nave Wave’, and now.”

An excerpt from “Liu Xin: Seeing Rivers and Lakes with Warm Eyes – Three Themes of Dai Shihe’s Paintings”

“Dai Shihe is a contemporary painter with a powerful ‘sense of presence.’ Dai has gained the power of expression in the process of sketching and quickly ascends this experience to the charm of language with a rich cultural intelligence. In his works, the intensity and richness of the color is intertwined, to highlight the texture and power of the color; his brushworks are wide, varied and strong, to convey the emotion while shaping; he boldly selects and removes when he creates a visual structure, directly taking the most dynamic shape... and so on, reflecting that he ‘writes’ what he ‘wants’, which includes the expected the essential appearance of things, and the expected potential “learning” that dominates his choices, as well as the excepted humanistic spirit towards natural life and existing reality.”

An excerpt from “Fan Di’an: Painting What I Want – Dai Shihe Talks about the Art”

“If we say the old philosophy is a kind of intellectual wisdom, the new philosophy is a creative wisdom. Dai Shihe does not fall into the debate of existing any more, but directly sketches the existing and the ‘creation’, ‘decision’, ‘shaping’ are the keywords for the running of the brush, so that “existing” contains the significance of the sketcher and thinker. Obviously, the development of the image is not out of thin air, it is conducted in the existing framework of life, both experiencing the ‘secular life’ and ‘monastic life’, ‘detaching from the images and gaining its essence’, revealing the biggest ‘conformation with a purpose’ in the ‘conformity with law’. Such creative thinking is actually like a ‘craft’, and even called a craft, in the course of defending and breaking, coming in and going out which results in the idea of flashing things insight, inspiration & wisdom, cleverness, in order to take care of people and to shape people themselves.”

An excerpt from “Lv Shengzhong: Dai Shihe · In General”

“Dai Shihe is good at thinking, and often takes notes. His thinking is reflected in two books, one is the ‘Creation on the Canvas’, written in his early years, and another one is ‘Apples Falling to the Ground’, published in recent years. It involves astronomy and geography, disorderly talking about all things of the world, and it has layers of analyses of the concepts which seem to be simple, to allow people to get a glimpse of this special concept. In addition to it making sense, the clear speculation and flashing wisdom between the lines is refreshing. Of course, it also reveals his smart, decisive, humorous and accessible characters and traits.”

An excerpt from “Ding Yilin: Precious Memories – Lao Dai as I Know”


“In his life, Dai Shihe often finds interesting things and draws everything with delight, as if God has created everything in the world, where he is intoxicated. He draws things without selecting, and he draws things with great interest, regardless of scenery, people, still life and indoor scenes. It is given emotion when he touches a thing, and even a simple sketch is ‘of spirit’”.

An excerpt from “Li Yanzhou: Deep Flow of the Static Water”

“For painting, especially sketching, it is not complicated in fact, only draws on what I am interested in, to draw what I see, and I draw it for it is interesting, or ‘beautiful’, instead of questioning ‘why it is beautiful’. I concentrate on the performance of the beautiful thing, the flavor that I am interested in.”

An excerpt from “Dai Shihe: I Draw What I Think – Reply to Mr. Yu Haiyuan”

“A painter who is good at sketching has always found new things and new topics, and there are always new challenges that he has neither seen nor experienced before. Therefore, it is difficult for an outstanding painter to produce familiar work with ease, and he doesn’t know what he can do at the end of his resources, so that, he has to be slow and absorbed in it. When a leopard stares at a zebra, each muscle is sensitive and jumping which is the state of experts. The one that is poor in sketching will put in style, leisurely drawing the fixed style in his mind, so the little sketch is easy for him. He ‘shows’ a sketch, rather than drawing a sketch, he avoids the risk of failure, improving the success rate of running strokes, playing with his own mature tricks, to form a petty screen, which was called smooth and skillful in the past, but the quality is poor.”

An excerpt from “Dai Shihe: Often Sketch & More Freehand”

“In the works of Dai Shihe, the traces of the painting are both the imprints of the images and the true state of the painter’s mind. Each piece of work does not only expose the veil of nature, but also exposes the painter’s heart. Through Dai Shihe’s paintings, we enter vivid nature while encountering a free and easy mind. People often have an impassioned and forceful feeling when they see Dai’s paintings, because his mind is as sincere and profound as nature, and we see both the innocent, spicy and deep qualities in the works of Dai Shihe.”

An excerpt from “Peng Feng: Fun outside the Law - Charm of Dai Shihe’s Oil Paintings”

 “Lao Dai’s freehand oil painting should be learned from new ideas and it has new factors: the dynamic intersection, the interaction of force, the tension formed by visual physical reality and the instantaneous inner writing, etc., constituting a new standard of evaluating of freehand oil painting. It finishes the things that people intuitively think of as “excellent” and has a systematical conclusion, which is not only the development of painting, but also promotes the perception of human beings, the understanding of things, wisdom and thought.”

An excerpt from “Ma Lu: Dai Shihe & Freehand”