Richard Mckown's a last supper painting


November 20th - january 10th

I don't want to say much about this painting. My professor, Dale Eldred, would always tell us, "if you want to be a great artist you should cut out your tongue.” I do want to say, however, that of the many influences which shaped this work, two of the most significant are the Rothko Chapel in Houston and the French film Of Gods and Men directed by Xavier Beauvois.

In 2007, Camille Paglia gave a lecture at Colorado College on the subject of religion and the arts in America. In this lecture, she challenged the highly educated art community to re-embrace the subject matter of religion and spirituality. This is a tough challenge. For many decades the fine arts have focused on secular subject matter and left the realm of the spirit to artists with a taste for the sentimental and saccharine.

If you are a person of faith you might recognize this image; if you are a nonbeliever you might just find it compelling to look at these faces. This painting is ambitious but I do not intend it to be pushy. It refers to a Biblical story about twelve young men and their rabbi. The story tells us about an evening meal when the rabbi took bread, giving thanks and saying “This is my body, which will be given up for you.” Would these young men have leaned closer to hear what was being said? Were they exchanging glances and asking what this means as they passed the bread and cup of wine? My ambition has been to imagine what it would have been like to be in the room. This is, of course, impossible but this is my best effort so far.

- Richard McKown