CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Last Supper, a thought-provoking series of painted plates illustrating final meal requests of death row inmates in the United States, will be exhibited in Corvallis starting Tuesday, Jan. 8.
The Last Supper installation project now consists of 500 plates. Artist Julie Green, an associate professor of art at Oregon State University, started the series in the early 2000s and intends to paint about 50 plates annually until the death penalty is abolished.
All 500 plates of The Last Supper will be on exhibit from Jan. 8 through Feb. 16 at The Arts Center, 700 S.W. Madison Ave., Corvallis.
Green is a nationally renowned artist and recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painter and Sculptors Award. Her work was featured in OSU’s Terra Magazine, and the project has received national media attention in outlets as diverse as National Public Radio and magazines Ceramic Monthly and Gastronomica.
Green said she sees the plates as a way to humanize individual inmates, and to bring home the gravity of the death penalty issue by the sheer number of plates she has created. She uses cobalt blue mineral paint on found and vintage tableware.
“I grew up in a family of wonderful cooks, and there was a lot of tradition with meals passed down through generations,” Green said in Terra. “And the idea of a meal whose purpose is not to sustain life, or be shared, but seems to have this other symbolic meaning, just compelled me.”
An artist’s reception will be held on Friday, Jan. 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Green will give a brown bag talk at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Both events will be at The Arts Center. A full, color catalogue of the 500 plates will also be available for the first time.
After leaving The Arts Center in Corvallis, The Last Supper exhibit will be showcased at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art from March 1 to April 7.
At Oregon State, Green teaches painting, drawing and contemporary issues in art. In 2011, she received grant support from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Its prestigious award is given to only 25 contemporary artists a year to acknowledge painters and sculptors nationwide who create work of exceptional quality.
Green’s work has been included in 25 solo exhibitions in this country and abroad. She lives in Corvallis with her husband, quilter Clay Lohmann. She has a Masters in Fine Art from University of Kansas and has been at OSU since 2000.