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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 7, 2003

Raggedy Andy assists artist's mind cleansing

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Critic

 •  'Cleaning House with Raggedy Andy'

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; open Saturdays and Sundays until 4 pm. through Sept. 24

Gallery on the Pali, First Unitarian Church of Honolulu

In a series of acrylic and oil paintings based on "working" through the emotional labors of past incidents that filter into our present life, Ginger Royal gives Raggedy Andy a good scrub. In her exhibit at The Gallery on the Pali, Andy also gets vacuumed, ironed and tumble-dried.

Royal began the series before graduating from the bachelor of fine arts program at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

As a child Royal didn't play with dolls. Originally, she bought the Raggedy Andy doll as a gift, but its talent as a model precluded her giving it away. In this series, Royal, as an adult, is "Cleaning House with Raggedy Andy," a metaphor for the process of mentally cleaning up one's mind instead of one's house.

She chose Andy rather than the Ann doll because she felt it gave her concept gender balance and more angst.

"Raggedy Andy provides (through a doll's non-threatening anthropomorphic qualities) the psychological and emotional witness of one's personal process of this internal cleansing," she writes in her artist statement.

The 14 paintings display Royal's various painting styles using a palette knife and a brush, and illustrate the resolved and unresolved conflicts she explores.

"Once Upon a Line" shows Andy hanging on a clothesline with other articles of clothing in a sunny yard, while in "Ironing It All Out" he is on his back on an ironing board with an dark oversized iron beside him. In "Censored" Raggedy Andy is intentionally gooey-mouthed and muted at bedside, without any clear spatial definitions. However, the psychological themes of this series do begin to take shape.

"The titles say a lot about the mental processes I am going through," Royal says. "Whenever I had a project or something due, I would go into my room, fold everything and make it neat. I thought I was a procrastinator. I realized now that it was healing — allowing me to clear my mind and give me space to work so that I could focus on the project with full intention and diligence."

"These pieces are about giving oneself the space to let go, knowing when to purge, and the processing which provides the balance necessary in redistributing past experiences," Royal wrote.

For details about the artist and her work, visit her Web site at www.gingerroyal.com.