Ohio University Southern Art Gallery
Welcome to Ohio University Southern's online art gallery. Discover Our Selection Of Artworks From Recognized Artists from around the Ohio University community. Please see the galleries below and learn more about each of our artists and their work.
I make work that explores the dilemma that Appalachian people face when dealing with decolonization. Appalachia has been utilized for its resources and people for several decades; from coal to steel, industry has settled comfortably in a place where people value hard work.
Tradition exists through many forms in Appalachian life. From a passing down of crochet, to generational career paths in steel mills, Appalachians have been ingrained with a mentality of tradition that has, and continues to work its way through generations. But what happens when those traditions end? In a region with an unyielding belief in family and locational loyalty, the overall inveterate disposition is that “my grandfather did it, my father does it, and I’ll do it next.” But when those traditions begin to disappear, it rocks that loyalty to its very foundation. This preservation of a seemingly outdated mentality centered on industry and tradition has made them who they are, but at what cost? Is it time to move on, or is this way of life worth preserving?
Working with traditional Appalachian materials and techniques such as crocheted yarn, sewn fabric, and cardboard moving boxes, my work forms an environment where tradition collides with impermanence in a materialization of a cultural phenomenon. Meticulously made “precious” objects such as fabric canaries and quilt-work signs, allow their ominous messages to work alongside the transient existence of damaged cardboard and its symbolism of impermanence and relocation, to become a visual representation of dilemma. I’ve created a space for the viewer to experience shifts in emotion. Whether it be through the anxiously made statements and foreboding imagery, or the sentimentality of the carefully sewn elements. Either way, my goal is to connect the viewer to the quandary of the Appalachian person. Industrialization has been existing as a tradition within Appalachian culture, but deindustrialization has struck the region. Now the question is, do the people fight for or against it?
My name is Jesse Thornton, native of Point Pleasant and current resident of Huntington, West Virginia. I wasn’t born with a camera in hand. I didn’t think about photography growing up. I suppose it still did not occur to me take pictures even when cell phone cameras became ubiquitous. That started to change by 2014 when I was inspired to pick up a camera as a simple excuse to get out of my comfort zone, travel more and document my journeys.
I quickly became obsessive about the art of photography and addicted to chasing down the adventures that were born from that obsession. I’ve learned there's nothing more gratifying to me than finding that rarely glimpsed scenic vista painted with warm, late evening light; or the forgotten night sky untouched by artificial lights. I've seen quite a bit of the country through my camera, but nothing makes me more inspired and motivated than capturing my home state of West Virginia.
Here, we have some of the richest and most diverse scenery in the country, furnishing different looks throughout the four seasons of the year. Influenced by fantasy and science, my aim is to capture the surreal nature of these landscapes in hopes of encouraging others to discover (or rediscover as I have) the beauty of West Virginia. This is something I must do; it’s in my bones now and your purchase helps to fuel my passion!
Juried Tamarack artist
Member of the Board: Tri-State Arts Association
Member of The Board: Gallery at 409 in Point Pleasant, WV
2016 – Exhibited at The Gallery at 409 show “Five”
2016 – 2nd place winner for the Enhanced Photography category in the 35th annual Foothills Arts Festival in Jackson, OH
2017 – Co-Exhibited at The Art Emporium’s “Vision” show in Charleston, WV
2018 – Solo Exhibit at the Parkersburg Art Center
2018 – Best of West Virginia Exhibit, Tamarack
2018 – Solo Exhibit “West Virginia: A Day and a Night” at the Gallery at 409 in Point Pleasant, WV
2018 – Best of Show Winner – Emerging Artists Exhibit at the West Virginia Culture Center
2019 – Best of West Virginia Exhibit, Tamarack
2019 – Solo Exhibit “West Virginia Dreamscapes” at The Art Emporium, Charleston, WV
Featured works in Wonderful WV Magazine, Spotlight West Virginia, West Virginia Living, Daytripper Magazine, Blue Ridge Country, Blue Ridge Outdoors