Preview: Holiday Hop

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

Prepare to talk shop.

The newest exhibit in Ray's Living Room, the gallery at 17 Brickel St., is full of new Bernice Koff works inspired by shopping.

"When you paint," Koff said, "the greatest thing you can do as an artist is connect to who and what you ultimately are."

For her, that meant using shopping bags in her collages.

"That may make me sound frivolous," she said, "but I grew up in New York. When you grow up there, one of the fun things to do is shop. I grew up very needy, but I saw this and this was a part of my world. When life started to get a little bit easier, I took joy in shopping. I'm the one who goes to buy the gifts. I enjoy doing it. A shopping bag is an object that has some meaning to me."

The abstract collages include bags from different trips Koff, a Columbus resident, has taken. One painting incorporates a bag she brought home after a trip in Venice 15 years ago. Another uses tissue paper from a purchase she made only months ago. She made the handle for one of the bags from her husband's saxophone and clarinet reeds.

The series marks a change in Koff's technique. She typically begins collages by putting paint on a canvas first and then concentrating on the colors to dictate her shapes. For the new works, she painted on or attached the shopping bag first and then deliberately painted around that shape.

"I found this to be more enjoyable," she said. "Maybe because there is less in my life that I can control right now and I have more control over these paintings. Maybe that's why they're pleasing me so much?"

Whatever the reason, she's got painting in the bag.

Lindsay Gallery

You know that feeling when you're trying to remember someone's name and it is scratching the back of your mind? When you know pieces of the puzzle, like the first letter of his name, but can't place them anywhere?

That's what it's like to examine pop-folk artist Harry Underwood's paintings. They are like postcards you'd purchase on a strange, mid-century road trip in your dreams.

Underwood's work will be on view alongside marionettes by Richard McClead, a puppeteer who, shocked by the cruelty of World War II, ditched the physically violent humor of puppet tradition for musical numbers in his shows. At the Hop, stop by the gallery at 8 p.m. to watch a burlesque dance by local performance artists Button Le Bouton and Snap LaSnap.

Marcia Evans Gallery

Abstract and landscape painters such as John Donnelly and Annette Poitau submitted miniature pieces for the gallery's "Holiday Salon Show." Come see how it takes big thinking to create small. Visitors can also check out artisan-crafted wool scarves and jewelry.

Holiday extras

This month's Hop features a lot of holiday-themed extras. Grab a free cup of cocoa and high-five old Mr. Claus himself at 745 N. High St. (the space beside Posh Pets). Admire merchants' submissions for the popular Annual Holiday Window Display Contest and check out entries for a new creative competition called Twenty Trees Transformed. Twenty shops decorated Christmas trees to represent their brand (check out Substance's tree above). They'll auction off their topiary decor to benefit the Short North Stage.

Holiday Hop

4-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3

Short North

"Contemporary Collages: Recent Paintings by Bernice Koff"

Dec. 2-Jan. 15 at Ray's Living Room

"Harry Underwood: The Brightest of the Seasons" and "Richard McClead"

Through Dec. 31 at Lindsay Gallery

"Holiday Salon Show"

Dec. 3-31 at Marcia Evans Gallery