In Falsetto, a series of paintings on linen and paper, Nat Meade draws comparisons between art and puppet theater, in which the artist provides a minimal amount of information, leaving the audience to bring their own experience to bear in completing the piece. The viewer participates in an agreement in which he is asked to accept certain unreal aspects as fact- a suspension of disbelief. No one derides a puppet show for a lack of realism, Meade argues, and likewise paintings should not be confined by such expectations. In drawing a clear line between the painted and real worlds, he shrugs off allegiances to those aspects of the real- the relationship of light source and shadow or regularity of pattern- that do not serve the painting. He asks: “What else besides exactness is enjoyable?”
The focus of Falsetto is narrowed to repeated variations on four scenes- a man on a bed as seen from above, a tall man in a small room, a man’s head and shoulders viewed from behind, and a furry puppet on a stage. The puppet works act as a framing device, a reminder that the paintings are not in themselves life, but about life. His characters exist in pared down environments, contained settings in which Meade is free to play with formal elements of pattern, scale and color.