[Riley Lubich]

The first Moab ArtWalk of 2023, in which local artists showcase their work at various locations in downtown Moab, will take place on Saturday, April 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. This year, art browsers are encouraged to peruse works at Gallery Moab (59 S. Main St.), the Tom Till Gallery (61 N. Main St.), Moonflower Co-op (39 E. 100 N.), and Moab Arts (111 E. 100 N.). 

“The ArtWalk is something I think is a valuable thing for the community because I’d like to see this town become more of an art town—a place people come to just for the art,” said artist Greg MacDonald, whose works will be on display at Gallery Moab as the gallery’s guest artist for the month. MacDonald’s art career has taken him through many mediums, but now, he focuses mostly in abstract watercolor, creating figures he calls “Whats.”  

He paints every morning, he said, and tries to let the painting take shape as he does it—rather than planning it out beforehand. In an interview with the Moab Sun News, he flipped through his watercolor sketchbook, revealing brightly colored works depicting creatures like birds and dragons. MacDonald doesn’t finish every painting, he said, but he’ll sometimes revisit past ones. What’s striking about his works is that by incorporating an eye, the abstract watercolor lines take on new meaning: the eyes draw in the viewers, asking them to see more. 

“I get a great kick out of people explaining which piece they’re interested in—they don’t have titles or names,” MacDonald said. “So when people try to explain something, they say, ‘it’s the bird-human-fish-thing.’ That’s my intention, though, is to keep it in that realm: that’s where the most possibilities reside.” 

At Gallery Moab, he’ll be displaying some original works along with prints and calendars. Though he’s been painting for years, most of his work on display will be recent. 

“I often think that the individual pieces I do really sing and hold their own,” he said. “But often, a real value of the work is in the body of the work too.” 

Gallery Moab will also display the work of Amber Honour, the gallery’s featured artist of the month. Honour’s work shows “spontaneously painted local landscapes and unusual still life subjects,” according to Gallery Moab; her work spans from detailed depictions of cow skulls to vast desert scenes. 

The Tom Till Gallery displays photography prints from Tom Till, a local award-winning landscape photographer. During the ArtWalk, the gallery will display photographs of spring in the desert, and ArtWalk participants will also be entered into a raffle with any purchase for a chance to win a Tom Till gift set. 

Moonflower Co-op is also displaying the work of a photographer. Zach Cooley, a landscape photographer, recently moved to Moab: his work often captures the relationship between the moon and the landscape, showing the giant moon rising above rock forms or appearing like an iris beneath the crown of an arch. 

The final location, Moab Arts, will display an exhibit created by Riley Lubich, a local artist known for depicting landscapes and outdoor features with bold colors and flowing lines. The exhibit at Moab Arts will showcase a “collection of acrylic paintings and block prints on fabric” that explore both the macro- and micro-aspects of the desert—the “grandeur and expansiveness of the canyons and badlands of the southwest” and “the flora that populate … an incredibly biodiverse and complex ecosystem,” according to the Moab Arts website. 

[Riley Lubich]

“I’m going through a period of stylistic exploration right now,” Lubich said. She’s a self-taught landscape painter, and said the desert is constantly offering inspiration—but as her career has focused on landscapes, she’s found herself slowly trying new things. When the Moab Arts exhibit wraps up, she wants to focus on block printing and textile work, she said. 

“One of the things that has always been the most striking to me about the place that we live is that when you’re up above it, it looks so dead—it just looks frozen in time, with just the rocks and the canyons forming this vast expanse of nothingness,” Lubich said. “I think that a lot of people kind of stop there—they don’t take the time to explore the surface, and don’t see the fact that actually, the desert is made up of this diverse ecosystem of life.”

If you miss ArtWalk, don’t worry: most exhibits will be up for the entire month. There will also be ArtWalks (with new exhibits) on May 13, June 10, September 9, October 14, and November 11.