Boy With Livestock, oil on canvas, 48″ x 72″
Nora Othic is considered one of the top regionalist painters in the Midwest. She builds on a legacy from her artistic predecessors such as Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and the WPA artists from the Depression era, all known for celebrating rural America.
Othic moved to Marceline, Missouri when she was 7 years old and still lives on a farm today. Her rural experiences form and sustain her work as an artist, with numerous museum and gallery exhibitions in the Midwest to her credit. Her paintings reflect her lifestyle and focus on the ordinary aspects of life, exploring relationships between people, animals and the environment. Her straightforward depiction of the everyday approaches the heroic.
Othic has felt an important connection to farm animals since childhood, seeing them as a bridge between humanity and the natural world. Every year, she travels to the Missouri State Fair to take reference photos for her paintings. Not only are the animals (prime examples of their breeds) available for close-ups; they are shampooed, brushed, clipped, and polished to perfection, so that her paintings of them become iconic as well as descriptive.
Othic’s paintings and drawings of horses, roosters, pigs and rabbits are in a class of their own. While Othic often shows humans in action, completing a task or caring for an animal, her animals are presented in stillness, tranquil and dignified, each a blue ribbon winner. She is a sympathetic and keen observer and clearly sees each creature as a unique individual and nowhere is this more apparent than in her portraits of rabbits. Elizabeth Kirsch has said of Othic’s rabbits, “Not since Albrecht Durer has any artist seemed to care as much about these gentle creatures.”