Arts preview: January Gallery Hop

Jim Fischer

Wring every last minute out of the waning holiday season or just start your 2016 with art this Saturday at the galleries of the Short North for January's Gallery Hop.

Here's a head start - but only a primer, mind you - on what's in store as you explore. Visit for more information.

XO Show

Renee Lawter, Rivet

Rivet will host an exhibition of watercolor pieces by California artist and graphic design firm proprietor Renee Lawter throughout January. Working from her home studio, Lawter has been creating fanciful characters full of whimsy and capriciousness for more than 20 years. Offering them up in subdued tones and in oddly juxtaposed settings balances their innocence.

"For The 'XO Show' I wanted to hug what we love and kiss goodbye what we don't," Lawter said. "I created these large fuzzy characters, one that is hugging things we need more of with his little twiggy sprouts for antlers. While the little fuzzy horned creature is kissing things goodbye that don't work."

Lawter assesses a world that must deal with "war, violence, air quality, plastic in our environment, whales being hunted and killed by fisherman, bees becoming extinct due to chemicals in environment, animals that are abused, GMO foods ruining our land," by creating a fantastic landscape "that allows people to dive deeper if they choose to."

"I paint whimsically to approach serious topics," she said. "I put all that raw emotion and passion I feel about these subjects into the art. The fantasy aspect makes me happy - I'm often giggling while I work. If one person feels inspired and childlike in my fantasy reality, well, I have succeeded."

Opening reception, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2

1200 N. High St., Short North

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Sweet Spot

Dana Lynn Harper, Sean Christopher Gallery

Another feel-good yet thoughtful collection is the ongoing exhibition of works by emerging artist Dana Lynn Harper at Sean Christopher. The artist described her work as "abstract and surreal, but inspired by a bombardment of tragedy" and her effort to "find joy in the darkness."

"I wanted to make work not only joyful but abstract enough so that anyone from any circumstance can experience happiness or joy. It speaks to a diverse audience."

"Sweet Spot" features new works employing pattern and the use of black, both new elements in Harper's work.

Opening reception, 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2

Suites H & N, 815 N. High St., Short North

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The Time Between

Katie Hofacker, Stone Village Church

Central Ohio artist Hofacker works with acrylic and resin to create photo transfers that have a collage effect. This hands-on manipulation gives her work a pre-Photoshop feel.

"The paintings in this show came about from a need to explore the unexpected twists and turns that life can take," according to her artist's statement. "It is possible to go through sadness and pain and emerge with a positive outlook, so long as one acts out of kindness, love and caring. The work in this show explores the shifting dynamics of life from the past, future, and all the time in between."

Opening reception, 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2

139 E. 2nd Ave., Short North

Short North Arts District

4-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2