It’s time. I’ve been putting off writing this for months now, but I can keep silent no longer. Some subjects are sufficiently volatile in nature and deserve to be carefully broached; I just don’t think this is one of them.
Let me be blunt here: The large painting hanging above the fireplace in the Fred Meyer Lounge needs to go. It’s time.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t hate the painting. I think it was drawn by a very talented artist who put a lot of time and effort into it. It’s a lovely piece that was, as I understand it, donated by a member of the faculty here.
When I first saw it, I found myself examining the dark, interwoven colors and questioning the message the artist was trying to send. However, as my time at Linfield lengthened, I began disliking it more and more.
I don’t dislike the painting itself, but everything it represents. The painting is a casualty of it’s own tone. The “voice” of the painting — the feelings, desires, and emotions that grip me when I look at it — are so far out of line with the FML lounge it makes me cringe every time I step foot in there.
The lounge is designed so that every inch of it can be centered and focused on the area where the painting hangs. Concerts, dance parties, clubs, tours, orientations, speeches: Everything that goes on in that room revolves around that painting.
And it rewards the viewer with a contemplative, abstract piece of paint that’s too dark in nature.
A room like the FML, one that hosts so many students and guests of the college, needs something positive at its heart, something beautiful for its continual bright presence.
Think about it. Something colorful; something that cheers one up. It could go a long way in making that room feel less like a wood floor and some couches and more like a hangout place.
There’s a reason students put bright colors and happy images on their dorm walls. It really does set the mood.
Heck, even something more professional would look better in context. A snappy, giant photo of Hellie in a suit, similar to something you’d see at the White House? At least it would be entertaining, plus you’d have the fun of watching his eyes follow you.
Or a nice, beautifully photographed picture of the campus. A little stereotypical, but in this case stereotypical would have been smarter than abstract art. I guess it would be less of a conversation piece than the current one. That’s the only downside here.
I think it speaks volumes when I go to work at Cat Cabs and listen to musicians openly question who thought it would be a good idea to put that up there. These are guests of the college whose first impressions were of that painting. And they’re right; it just doesn’t make sense for it to be in there.
This welcoming room is a face of the college and that face is apparently a little dark, a little abstract and completely out of place.
Find a suitable replacement, and move it somewhere else. It’s time for it to be gone.
Matt Olson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.