New Artists Invigorate Nelsonville Gallery

Bryan Gibson

Updated Fri, Jan 27, 2012 7:12 pm

It turns out that reports of Majestic Galleries' demise were greatly exaggerated.

The public is invited to attend a show titled "The Majestic Lives," highlighting the work of new gallery members from Athens, Hocking and neighboring counties. A wide variety of pieces will be on display, including relief prints, paintings and photographs.

Last November, the artist cooperative, located on Nelsonville's Public Square, looked as if it might close its doors. Now thanks to new membership, it has a new lease on life.

"Majestic lost some key members over the winter, and indeed we were in danger of closing," said Jim Shirey, photographer and co-director (with Kathy Guest) of Majestic Galleries. 

"But we pushed for new membership and got lucky," he said. "Some very talented and energetic people came in with ideas to expand our membership, make sales, and build partnerships with other arts organizations."

One of the selling points in recruiting new artists was the quality and size of the gallery space, which was formerly a movie theater (also called The Majestic). 

"We can host up to four shows at once and can accommodate large installations," said Shirey. "Our membership terms are flexible, and we emphasize to members that the space is theirs to go wherever their imagination leads them."

Shirey says the main challenge in the coming years is getting the word out about shows and making the work visible in the community.

"People in Athens, for example, are generally not aware that such varied and high quality artwork is locally available at such reasonable cost," he said. "Plus, visitors to our galleries on Final Fridays can talk to the artists themselves. They can find out what motivates us to create art and what individual pieces mean to us."

"The Majestic Lives" will run through Feb. 19. For more information, visit

Slideshow: Majestic Galleries New Member Exhibit

Dennis Savage

"Portal," Dennis Savage

"'Portal' is an example of one of three large scale photographs I have in this show. The photographs are from a series I started last winter during the long stay of snow and ice in the Hocking Hills. I photographed ice formations at night, employing candles as the only light source and was excited enough by the results to continue going out into the cold numerous times to produce a small body of work. One thing I have learned over the years is that you never know when an idea for new work may emerge or even more mysteriously its true origin." - Dennis Savage

Dennis Savage is a photographer who lives and works in the Hocking Hills region. He has been a member of Majestic Galleries since 2009.

Ron Kroutel

"Slipped," Ron Kroutel

"My process is to work by trial and error from life, from small landscape sketches and paintings done on site. I drive around until I see a subject that, I have learned through experience, has the potential to express my sense of our times. The figures are invented, constructed from memory and imagination. Back in my studio, the small landscape studies that I do on site are combined with figure studies. The figures and the landscapes are pushed against each other, distorted, recombined, rejected and brought back until I have constructed an image that feels resolved. I build the final paintings up with layers of underdrawing, glazes, overpainting, scraping, and more glazes, always looking for an intuitive 'rightness.'  I leave open to viewers any other specific interpretations." - Ron Kroutel, Athens, Ohio

Kathy Guest

"Tree of Hope," Kathy Guest

"This piece is an interpretation of a tree with a human torso as the trunk and arms as the branches.  Various techniques including frottage (rubbings), paper molding, embossing and assemblage." - Kathy Guest

Ed Shrider

"Man with Snake," Ed Shrider

"'Man With Snake' is a 44”x44” pigment-on-paper color photographic print; the largest Diana photograph committed to paper that I have made. An effect of the provocative subject matter elicited by the image was to make a print that is life-size. Additionally, the photo frame is printed exactly as the photographer composed it and as the Diana camera captured it, thus the irregular black border. Diana cameras, once sold as novelty items, produce soft focus, dreamy images. The idea was to use a very simple box camera as an exercise in making photographic images with minimal technology." - Ed Shrider, Lancaster, Ohio