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Updated: October 25, 2022 @ 4:56 am
Susan Johnson
A Robert Walker retrospective exhibit will be part of Art Walk Richwood.
Baltimore artist and Richwood native Rick Morris will have a solo show at Art Walk Richwood.

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Susan Johnson
A Robert Walker retrospective exhibit will be part of Art Walk Richwood.
Baltimore artist and Richwood native Rick Morris will have a solo show at Art Walk Richwood.
Don’t try and find a hotel room in Richwood on Oct. 8. Every AirBnb in town as well as all rooms at Four Seasons Lodge are booked. In just its second annual event, Art Walk Richwood is proving to be a good investment by the town’s arts community.
“We were blown away by the success of our first event,” said Art Walk Committee member Kevin Lawrenson. “Many of last year’s artists sold all their inventory, and we had nearly 200 visitors to our Lawrenson Gallery for the Gayle Surface Retrospective.”
The whole community is busy with preparations. The city is hanging up pole banners announcing the Mountain Color Art Show, a competition that opens on Oct. 2 at City Hall. Kevin and Carma Lawrenson are hanging the paintings of Beckley artist and former Richwooder Robert Walker in their gallery for a retrospective that will run all week. Cecil Ybanez, owner and curator of Bloomfield Richwood, is moving in the works of Baltimore art teacher and artist Rick Morris, a native of Richwood as well.
Visitors to the Robert Walker Retrospective at the Lawrenson Gallery will find it astonishing that the collection is the work of a single artist. His lush landscapes are bathed in green light, evocative of Arcadian and Romantic landscapes of John Constable and Thomas Cole. His portraits have the layered colors and chiaroscuro of Rembrandt and Jean-Baptiste Chardin. Some of his most popular pieces are looser, more impressionistic works in which he often painted his three children frolicking in nature. Walker spent hours at the Concord College library, where he studied for two years, immersing himself in the old masters.
But Walker also loves the Modernists: Miro, Kandinsky, Matisse and Picasso, and Walker’s abstract pieces attest to that devotion. “It is exciting to me to experiment with styles in which the artist’s decisions are right there on the canvas and not intentionally disguised.”
Walker will be on hand all day Saturday during the Art Walk and will deliver a talk during the day. Some of his pieces will be available for purchase.
Across the street at Bloomfield, the works Baltimore artist and teacher Rick Morris are being curated by owner Cecil Ybanez. This is Morris’ second showing at Bloomfield, but his first solo show.
Rick Morris has been painting for 40 years, mainly with oils and acrylics. “I guess I’m a realist,” he says, “in the sense that I paint recognizable things.” Those recognizable things, however, are often juxtaposed with other recognizable things in a style that is often surrealistic — like a girls’ softball game in which a plane has crashed on home plate.
His new works promise to be grounded in his experience growing up in Nicholas County. “I do feel like there is a real sense of place for an artist who has grown up in the hills. The isolation that comes from living in the mountains and the hollows. The reality of hard times. Being connected to everything, like the past, present and future are all rolled up in one.”
Art events will be going on all week in Richwood with the opening of the Mountain Color Art competition on Sunday, Oct. 2. Visitors can view that show as well as both gallery shows during the week in the evenings. On Saturday, Oct. 8, Main Street will be blocked off for a street art fair with live music, activities for children and specials at the town’s various pubs and restaurants.
Morris remembers Richwood in her heyday, so he is encouraged to see his hometown embrace the arts as part of its tourism. “I feel like Richwood is at a very critical point in its history. The former jobs from coal and lumber simply don’t exist and won’t be coming back. Reimagining itself as an arts community, a destination where travelers want to stop as they explore West Virginia hills, can help Richwood hang on.”
To reserve a booth for the art walk, visit
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