How 21 Utah artists created images inspired by the coronavirus

(Image courtesy of Heather Olsen) Riverton artist Heather Olsen's "Getting Ready to Go Into Battle," oil on wood panel, 11 inches by 10 inches, made in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on — with people staying home, wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from others to keep the virus from spreading — everyone is trying to grasp the historic events we’re all experiencing.

Artists are trying to make sense of it all, too. It’s what they do. As the painter Robert Rauschenberg said, “The artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.”

Since museums and galleries around Utah are closed because of local stay-at-home orders, The Salt Lake Tribune is opening this virtual gallery to show what Utah artists are making in this moment. We contacted several galleries and arts organizations (including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and Artes de Mexico de Utah) and asked them to reach out to artists they know to ask: What have you made in the last month or so in response to the coronavirus pandemic?

The 21 artists who responded took that query in many directions, landing in four general topics: the virus itself and the people fighting its spread; the ever-present cloud of anxiety; the psychological strain of separating from other people; and the places they can’t go because of the pandemic.

Click here to enjoy the stroll through the gallery.