Ernest Ochsner

Painting by Ernest Ochsner

I was born January 28, 1944 in the small farming community of Isabel, South Dakota, between the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Indian Reservations. My parents were Russian-German immigrants whose families had fled the Ukraine to avoid conscription, (my mother’s), and the revolution a few years later, (my father’s).  I am the youngest of four children. My sister, Lucia, lives in Lincoln, NE and my two brothers, Warner and Bruno, are both deceased. In 1946, when I was 2, we left the farm and moved to Sutton, NE, then again moving to Lincoln, NE in 1956.

Ernest OchsnerI have wanted to be an artist since I was 4 years old and have worked towards that goal, in a singular fashion, save a few minor detours along the way. I am self taught believing in my own muse rather than that of others. I spent most of my childhood summers outdoors along School Creek and the Platte and Blue River bottoms. This mix of natural and agricultural environment left a deep impression on me, which I am continually drawn back to, both for renewal and inspiration.

I, my wife Lynda and our daughter Elizabeth, moved to Aurora, NE from Omaha, NE in 1974 to assist in the establishment of the  Baha’i community. Lynda is now a retired elementary school teacher, pursuing a second career as a photographer and Elizabeth is married to Joerg, a German and living in Germany. She has three children, a girl Nadja and two boys, Colin and Henry, all being the apple of their Poppa’s eye.

My work has evolved over the years along with my perceptions of reality. The abstract and expressionist experiments of the 60’s and 70’s have slowly, and sometimes painfully, given way to my present interests in landscape painting and photography. Everything I do is grounded in, not bound by these early experiments. The nature of my work has always been reflective of my search for meaning and purpose; it is a spiritual quest. The significance of my work is connected to its ability to be successful as both catalyst and signpost in this search. The land, sky, and agriculture serve as metaphors, archetypes extending back to the dawn of civilization, woven through the religions, stories and songs that spring from them. I go out in the country, seeking. The rigid geometry of the agricultural lands and the seeming chaos of the natural appear at odds, but beneath the surface  there is the harmony of cycles and seasons, with earth, air and water relinquishing nourishment to hungry roots and leaves.  Here I find a never-ending wellspring of inspiration, spiritual sustenance, and that transcendent beauty that we seem to belittle in our rush toward modernity.

For more information visit the Ernest’s website.

During Art Walk Aurora, Ernest will be featured at The Renaissance.