Arts preview: Must-see gallery openings at Columbus College of Art & Design

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive
Martha Colburn: "Camera, Lights, Charge, Pop"

The Columbus College of Art & Design kicks off its fall season on Thursday, Sept. 5, with a quintet of must-see gallery shows that range from displays of vintage punk-rock poster art to an exhibit exploring the work of cartoonist/Ohio State alumnus Jeff Smith. Here's a quick rundown of what attendees can expect to find at each exhibit:

Kirk Hayes: "Rule By Fear"

From a distance, Kirk Hayes' pieces look like elaborate, homemade collages constructed from ripped paper, masking tape and smudged bits of cardboard, glue and other random ephemera. In actuality, the Texas-based artist uses oil paints to construct his intricate works, manipulating the materials so they appear to take on entirely different forms. Hayes' backstory is nearly as interesting as his art. He's self-taught, and he worked as a groundskeeper at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, before being discovered when he was in his early 50s.

Martha Colburn: "Camera, Lights, Charge, Pop"

Considering political events of the last decade-plus - terror attacks, threat-level warnings and never-ending war have become painfully woven into the fabric of our daily lives - it's no surprise the art world has offered up its response. This is certainly true of video artist Martha Colburn, whose work has become increasingly politically charged in recent years. Witness "Meet Me in Wichita," a "Wizard of Oz" parody where Dorothy is joined on her journey by a trio of Osama Bin Ladens rather than the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man. Colburn, who returns for an artist talk on Thursday, Oct. 3, will have more than 30 works on display here, including video pieces, Polaroids and large-scale collages.

Jeff Smith: "RASL"

Though best known for his playful, all-ages comic "Bone," Jeff Smith has dedicated his time in more recent years to "RASL," a darker, more adult-oriented sci-fi adventure about a dimension-hopping art thief. This exhibit promises to explore the various media that influenced the work (music, literature, etc.), as well as presenting various sketches and "sculptural manifestations" that offer a glimpse into Smith's creative process. Smith will also be participating in an artist talk on Friday, Sept. 27.

Gary Panter: "The Magnetic Lady"

Even if you've never heard the name Gary Panter, there's a decent chance you're familiar with at least some of his work. The Oklahoma-born graphic novelist/painter/designer, who came of age in the Los Angeles punk scene, won three Emmys for his set designs on the childhood classic "Pee Wee's Playhouse." This exhibit will focus on his more mature output, compiling paintings, comic book drawings and other works that showcase his "punk, nuclear, hillbilly" sensibilities. Panter will also return for an artist talk on Monday, Sept. 23.

"Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper"

Musician Patti Smith once said, "To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It's freedom." This exhibit, drawn from the collection of artist/designer Toby Mott, reflects this attitude, gathering an array of vintage punk-rock concert posters nearly as colorful and freewheeling as the musicians they're advertising. Included in the show are classic works Jamie Reid designed for the Sex Pistols and Linda Sterling broadsides for the Buzzcocks.

Canzani Center Gallery

Sept. 5-Oct. 4

60 Cleveland Ave. Downtown