Solo show by Florida artist opens today at Maune Contemporary
Maune Contemporary, Santa Barbara’s newest destination for modern and contemporary art, is opening its spring exhibit, “Truth or Friction,” a solo show by Florida artist Justin Lyon, today with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at 1309 State St., next door to the Arlington Theatre in the heart of the ARTS District.
This is the second location for founders Ramsey and Heidi Maune, who opened their first gallery in the Miami Circle Design District in Atlanta in 2019.
“We are excited to bring one of our most thought-provoking artists to Santa Barbara,” said Ms. Maune. “Justin’s works always leave you wondering what the meaning is of a particular painting. Of course, he won’t tell the viewer the meaning, and one is left to create their own ideas. His paintings are always fun, and we think the community will enjoy the exhibition.
“I love Santa Barbara. It’s such a beautiful place, and while I’ve visited a few times — a good friend lives there — I have never exhibited there,” said Mr. Lyons, who will be at today’s reception.
The exhibit will be on view through June 4.
“My inspiration for ‘Truth or Friction’ was loosely based on the idea of personal revelations about oneself and how we tend to put off truths we know are real to avoid friction. I’m looking forward to sharing my art with a new West Coast audience and hopeful that my work will resonate with the area. I have a suspicion it will,” said Mr. Lyons, a self-taught contemporary artist from the Florida panhandle.
He credits his introduction into the world of “street art” as the spark that led him to pursue his own form of artistic expression. It was during a late-night “wheatpasting” foray when he realized art didn’t have to be limited to museums or to the stark white walls of galleries.
“I discovered that art could also find its way into the urban landscape and still be powerful,” Mr. Lyons said. “Producing art that is raw, expressive, loose and risky provides an outlet for my creative impulses.”
Inspired by the lives and work of Cy Twombly, Barry McGee and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mr. Lyons refined his process and worked to develop a style all his own that is “both thought-provoked and thought-provoking.” By 2012, his art had been celebrated and awarded in venues and exhibitions beyond the urban landscape. Today, his mediums include wood, acrylic, house paint, spray paint, oil stick, epoxy resin and pencil.
“My inspirations are most often triggered by a word, phrase or thought, which, in association with the other elements within the work, intend to try and tell a story without giving away too much, letting the viewer interpret his own connection to the piece,” said Mr. Lyons, who lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., and when he’s not painting, he enjoys skateboarding, surfing and being a father.
Ms. Maune said, “It’s been a longtime dream of ours to open a gallery in Santa Barbara. I attended UCSB for college, and my parents have been living here for more than 30 years, so we’ve been looking for the right time to move here.
“Connecting with the community has always been important to us, and we feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful spot in Santa Barbara’s thriving ARTS District, where we’re enjoying getting to know our neighbors and excited to get involved!”
The mission of Maune Contemporary is to bridge various artist communities and provide its artists greater exposure to new markets. It was their passion for contemporary and modern art that initially compelled the Maunes to open their first gallery in Atlanta. They have been longtime art collectors and enjoy attending art fairs and visiting galleries to discover new artists, all while supporting their local art community.
Maune Contemporary specializes in limited edition and unique works by mid-career and renowned international artists whose work has been exhibited and found in the collections of museums worldwide.
The gallery carries art by Alex Katz, Donald Sultan, Ross Bleckner, Julie Torres, Halim Flowers, Robert Kelly, Caio Fonseca, Esteban Ocampo-Giraldo, Justin Lyons, Gavin Rain, Ted Collier, Stephanie Henderson, and Khalilah Birdsong, to name a few.
Maune Contemporary participates in Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday events in addition to holding regular exhibitions and more. The gallery accepts works on consignment as well as acquires art on the secondary market.
“We also offer art advisory and curatorial services, assisting businesses and individuals with building their art collection through their relationships in the art world,” said Ms. Maune. “As a way to navigate through the pandemic and continue our mission to connect people and art, Maune Contemporary began virtual gallery tours utilizing 3D technology, so art enthusiasts anywhere in the world can view our exhibits.”