Ohio University

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.


Simone Spruce


Simone Renee Spruce was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1960. Simone works predominantly in the medium of graphite pencil, but also works in painting, installation, theater and poetry. She has been a teaching artist for 40 years to various groups which include K-12, At-Risk Youth, Adults, Seniors and the Developmentally Disabled. Her art credentials also include curating and jurying exhibitions in 2D and 3D in various mediums; panelist on various private and grant-making institutions to the arts, an art consultant and grant writer. Simone completed her BA in Art at Findlay University in Findlay, Ohio in 1982. She received her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast. Her work is in both public and private collections. She lives and works in Toledo, Ohio.

This exhibit seeks to increase the awareness of the public on how these African-American women singers used their politically charged music to fight for civil and human justice.

Part 1 Featured Singers: Mirian Makeba, Odetta, Tracy Chapman, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone and Sweet Honey In The Rock.

“Driva’ Man” is my visual interpretation of the song by Abbey Lincoln describing the brutality of slavery.

Driva’ Man
Oh Freedom
“Oh Freedom” is my visual interpretation of the song by Odetta depicting the fight for freedom and justice by Muslim Women.
Soweto Blues
“Soweto Blues” is my visual interpretation of the song by Miriam Makeba about the victims of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa.
Mississippi GD
“Mississippi GD” is my visual interpretation of the song by Nina Simone wrote in response to the murder of Medgar Evers and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four black children. In the song she also focuses on lunch counter sit-ins that were taking place around the country.
Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution
“Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution” is my visual interpretation of the song by Tracy Chapman who wrote, “I’m still thinking and hoping there’s an opportunity for people to have better lives and that significant change can occur.” I focused on 99% protestors issues of income disparity and economic inequality in the U. S.
“ARE WE A NATION” is my visual interpretation of the song by Sweet Honey In The Rock. The song is about their views on the complex issues of immigration and expressing their outrage about Arizona’s law SB-1070. This law encourages opportunities for hatred, ignorance and prejudice to prevail.



Bill TUssey


A native and near lifelong resident of Appalachia, my work focuses on her people. Inventive, creative, industrious, and beautiful. My journey into photographic art began with a desire to be a rock and roll drummer. Unfortunately, my musical skills don’t lend themselves to my being the next Peter Criss or Bun E Carlos, though I strive for that limit pushing, boundary stretching edge in my images. Often, I choose unconventional locations, socially unacceptable content, uncomfortable topics, and marginalized models to bring my images to life. Many times, I refer to my ideas as a “fuzzy vision”, and this is the only theme I have in mind. Bringing that fuzzy vision into focus is a wonderful journey, and one I plan to continue for many more years, and many more adventures.

This work shows the death of Ophelia, a scene from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Many Victorian painters like Millais used Shakespeare’s plays as inspiration. Hamlet murders Ophelia’s father, and she is so upset she falls into a stream and drowns. The flowers she is holding were chosen for their meanings. The poppies symbolize death.

The background was painted from real life. When this picture was made, it was thought to be one of the most accurate studies of nature ever painted. Artist, poet and model Elizabeth Siddall posed for Ophelia in a bath of water at Millais's studio. The water was meant to be kept warm by lamps underneath, but these went out, and she became ill after spending so long in cold water.

Tate Museum Gallery Card

Millais’ work is indelible. This image of Ophelia has been imprinted on the minds of so many people, it is often recognized, even when the reference, Hamlet, is unknown or forgotten. Over the years, Ophelia has inspired many other works, though none as well known.

A friend remarked about the similarity of one of my images to the original, and it started my mind turning. While it was not a conscious effort, and different in many ways, I also saw the similarities. As I continued to build a body of work around an adjacent theme, I began to see the Ophelia reference in many of the images. Over time, I have managed to put my own stamp on these images, while continuing to pay homage to the original.

I hope you enjoy my interpretation of the original, some century and a half later.

1.    The Love of 40,000
2.    Readable
3.    Howling in Hell
4.    Between
5.    Angel In Heaven
6.    Saved by Madness
7.    Willow
8.    Steadfast
9.    Foreshadowed
10.    Emboldened
11.    Almost
12.    Leave Me Be
13.    Wake With Angels
14.    Forgotten
15.    Awoke
16.    Rue
17.    No Violets Left
18.    Remembrance of Me
19.    The Grace O’Sundays
20.    Adrift
21.    Dutiful
22.    Aslant the Brook
23.    Seeking Equilibrium
24.    To the Nunnery
25.    Maiden
26.    Final Rest
27.    At Peace
28.    Melancholy
29.    Incapable of Her Own Distress
30.    Murky





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?



Jesse Thornton
Jesse Thornton
Jesse Thornton

Visit the Jesse Thornton Virtual Gallery


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!

Artist Highlights
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
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