Maynard Johnny, Jr. – Featured Artist

Maynard is a painter; his painting has clarity, confidence and grace. The ultimate success and transcendence of both northern and southern coastal art depends on the artist’s intellectual and intuitive sense of line. Like writing, music, poetry, Pacific Coastal art has stylistic conventions that must be honored; and then within those constructs the artist has the freedom to express himself. A tight, awkward composition is readily evident and comes from the artist being uncomfortable with the language of the lines of this art style. One must draw and paint for years before the natural grace of a line is second nature. Johnny’s art is fluid, taut, undulating and brilliant, as exemplified in his “Killer Whale” painting. His love of the art and a dedication to his culture has made it a joy to represent Maynard Johnny, Jr. and a pleasure to know him.

Exhibition Dates:

February 5, 2009 - February 28, 2009

Involved Artists:

Maynard Johnny, Jr.

Featured Works

We have had the pleasure of working with Maynard for over seven years.  Our favorite memory of Maynard, and one we will treasure always, was from the day the Stonington Gallery opened our Awakenings exhibition, August 16th, 2005. We had spent nearly two years planning the exhibition. During that time we had made many trips to British Columbia and spent many evenings writing the exhibition catalogue Contemporary Coast Salish Art. We were immersed in all things Coast Salish for two years. It was wonderful.

However, the full impact of the cultural importance of the exhibit really did not hit home until Maynard Johnny, Jr. got up and spoke at the Opening Reception. We had an open mic available for anyone who wanted to share thoughts about the exhibit. There were so many wonderful, interesting things said that day. But what will always come to mind are the comments Maynard made and how heartfelt they were and how difficult it was for him to speak to a crowd. Maynard expressed how much the show meant to him as a Coast Salish man and artist. He spoke of the sense of great personal relief and joy that his cultural heritage was finally being celebrated and how satisfying it felt that people wanted to learn and understand the cultures that were here long before the west was settled. It felt like so much bottled sadness had been released, and in its place a sense of hope.

Maynard is an extremely sensitive, reflective man and in that moment of listening to him and watching him I was more grateful for having the great fortune to be a witness to the cultural resurgence or “awakening” that is coursing through so many of these tribal lands. The paintings and prints Maynard created for that show remain some of our personal favorites. Maynard Johnny, Jr.’s art has been featured in several museum exhibitions including the Seattle Art Museum’s S’ababeb-The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists in which his work also graces the cover of the exhibition catalogue.