Megan Marlatt

ooking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

1. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—'The Critics at Large'

2016, Cast papier-mache
On exhibition at Manifesta II, Zurich, "The Historical Exhibition, Sites Under Construction"

2. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—"The Critics at Large: Roberta Smith writing notes at a Chelsea art gallery"

2014, Cast papier-mache
Art in Odd Places—FREE, New York, NY, Oct 2015
(Photo by Karen Bell)

3. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—3 Megans in One Dress

2016, papier-mache
Art in Odd Places—RACE, 2016, New York City
(photo by Karen Bell)

4. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—"The Artist, The Devil and The Heavenly Host of Angels"

Performed at TRIBES, Prague Quadrennial, 2015
Photo credit: Marek Volf

5. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—The Queen and Her Corgis

2015, papier-mache
The Tribes Exhibition, Prague Quadrennial—2015 Prague, Czech Republic
Queen by Megan Marlatt
Corgis by Jenny Campbell and Megan Marlatt
photo credit: Richard Knox Robinson

6. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—The Hare, the Hair

2016, papier-mache
Art in Odd Places—RACE, 2016, New York City
photo credit: Karen Bell

7. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—"The Critics at Large, Hans": Curator Christian Jankowski tries on Hans Ulrich Obrist's big head

Manifesta II, Zurich, Switzerland. The Historical Exhibition; Sites Under Construction, Manifesta 11
Photo credit: Richard Knox Robinson 2016

8. Megan Marlatt and The Big Head Brigade—"The Artist and The Devil in Lounge Chairs"

2013, Cast papier-mache
at Socrates Park, SkowheganPERFORMS, Long Island City, NY, Sept 2013
(photo by Karen Bell)


Megan Marlatt has been a Professor of Studio Art at the University of Virginia since 1988. She is presently a Fulbright Scholar, pursuing the study of Belgian carnivals and their relation to the Belgian painters; Ensor, Bruegel and Bosch. She is the founder and director of The Big Head Brigade, an artist collective that creates and performs in large, papier-mache’ masks. In addition, her narrative paintings respond to these performances by referencing circus and side-show posters. She has received fellowships in painting from the National Endowment for the Arts (1995), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2013 and 2006), the Virginia Commission on the Arts (1996), and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts (1985). Marlatt's paintings and big head performances have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
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Waywiser Press
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