The Little Lost Operas explore how sentiment can implode through emotional pathways, into the subconscious mind. In the vein of Meigs’ earlier explorations on the theme of the Tragicomedy (Scenes for My Affection, Scenes on a Sea of Joy and Sorrow, JOYJOYSORROW) the works portray invented operatic scenes each with a puppet in the midst of their Aria, and paper dolls as the supporting actors. Activated by detailed handiwork, fabric frames that move with air circulation, roughly recognizable stage settings, theatrical and musical references, the viewer is drawn in through intimate visual engagement. Each puppet is hand made by whittling, sewing, or clay sculpting. The use of dramatic gestural devices brings a sudden recognition that something palpable is happening within the painting; perhaps it is love, despair, arousal, or impending death.
Each is silent yet vocal and orchestrated, plotted yet absurd, rich in detail yet lacking all the information.
Written texts accompanying each painting contain excerpts from Playbill notes, opera synopses and music album reviews clumped together in Meigs’ enigmatic style.