Sitting Out with Malcolm Liepke

Being a young adult is a complex time period. We are at a fast-paced time period in our life where every decision we make shapes who we are and who we want to be tomorrow. The perfect age to find ourselves, lose ourselves, and in the midst of all of that, find others as well. Finding others is both simple and difficult at the same time, unaware of who is going to stay and who’s going to decide to leave in a matter of seconds. Malcolm Liepke’s Sitting Out is a piece that whispers this concept beautifully through all the noise.

The piece features a young woman who is sitting cross-legged on a chair in front of a pink wall. The pink wall suggests the playful nature of the girl, her posture and facial expression highlighting her quirky attitude and self-assurance. The bold pink and purple in the background represents the girl’s confidence and youth. While she is sitting out, the negative emotions associated with having a “time out” as a little child is contradicted by her facial expression and body posture. She is sure of herself and does not feel that being separated from others is a punishment. Yet, what made this idea slightly contradicting to me is how the body is not shown. Her hands are in the front while her long, jet black hair covers her body. While the picture does depict a strong sense of independence and self assurance, it also depicts isolation. The girl seems like she is unable to metaphorically open herself up, hiding her body, particularly her heart, with her posture and hair.

This juxtaposition transcends to a deeper truth about young adults. We learn to come to a point where we are genuinely content with ourselves and more importantly, our ability to hold onto our youth, as we have not quite hit adulthood yet. At this point we have managed to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. But to find others, and I mean truly find the people who encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves, is something that terrifies us beyond belief. The time and energy we invested into building ourselves up to be something in this world can so easily be snatched away by others who may break us and cause us pain. And I think that at no matter what age, pain is always something we try to protect ourselves from as much as possible. This painting portrays the pain we cause ourselves by sitting out and shielding ourselves from others.

What do you think of this piece?