Driving, for some, is more than a way to get from one place to another. On America's highways, millions of people make their living hauling goods in tractor-trailers, and at county fair demolition derbies around the country, thousands make a sport of smashing their hand-painted, American-made junkers into piles of twisted metal.

Driving, for some, is more than a way to get from one place to another. On America's highways, millions of people make their living hauling goods in tractor-trailers, and at county fair demolition derbies around the country, thousands make a sport of smashing their hand-painted, American-made junkers into piles of twisted metal.

Painter Jim Zellinger has long been interested in the former, photographer Michelle Maguire in the latter. Coordinating between here and Zellinger's home in Long Island, the two friends have combined their creative efforts for a show at Chop Chop Gallery, which opens Friday with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m.

Its title, Maguire explained, comes from Zellinger's painting of a "Mobile Chapel," a trailer for worship services adorned on the back with two large hands cradling a semi and "Safety is of the Lord" in red script.

"I feel it's as appropriate for men who spend their lives in a big rig as guys who ram their cars into each other," she explained. "There's a requisite faith in something."

A librarian for OSU's College of the Arts, Maguire's already known around town through Pretty Patti, the line of screenprinted accessories and Polaroid images on canvas she sells at the Wexner Center Store, indie craft fairs and online. This is her first gallery appearance, however, despite years of talking with Zellinger about showing together.

In prints specifically sized big enough to make a bold statement but small enough to be accessible to buyers, Maguire presents a series of images shot last summer at demolition derbies throughout Central and Southeast Ohio. It's a procession of lovingly mangled cars and proud owners sandwiched between beautiful blue skies and sandy dirt tracks.

She was drawn to the derbies by the aesthetic of the cars' hand-painted signage and the sense of community that builds around each of them. Starting at the Franklin County Fair, Maguire found she could get a pit pass for $10 that got her up close to cars and drivers who were usually happy to be photographed.

"You have to sign waivers and everything, but you have access like you wouldn't believe," she said.

Maguire's view into this relatively unexplored subculture provides a natural contrast for Zellinger's odes in acrylic to something so all-present, we barely notice it. His small, square, realist works isolate commercial trailers he's passed on the road within fields of vibrant, textured color, accompanied occasionally by a light or utility pole, or a ghost sketch of the cabs pulling them.

As a kid in central Iowa, Zellinger, who works days as an information research specialist for the New School, spent a lot of time traveling between his divorced parents, and trucks were a constant on the road.

"Such iconic figures, really romantic, this giant machine that people get to drive around the country," he said. "It's a really interesting lifestyle that's so ubiquitous. Everywhere you go they blend into the background. I wanted to bring them out."

He's worked on the series for over six years and shown parts of it from New York to Anchorage, but here, Zellinger's another gallery newcomer like Maguire. Chop Chop is providing the space, but allowed the artists to curate the show themselves.

Having met Chop Chop partners Craig Dransfield and Ashley Puckett on previous visits to Columbus, he appreciates their efforts to blend art-making and presentation with entrepreneurship, and mentioned similar scenes building in cities like Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

"I'm really excited to show in Columbus," Zellinger said. "It's one of these great second-tier cities. Not New York or Chicago, but people are doing really fantastic and interesting things, and Chop Chop is a great representation of that."