Raggedy Ann, Barbie, and Voodoo


When you hear the word “doll”…what do you think of…pretty, pink and cuddly? The Artists’ Group of Charlestown presented “Dolls on the Wall” on Friday, Nov 12th, Sat. Nov 13th and Sun. Nov 14th at the StoveFactory Gallery on Medford Street. The unique theme was the brain child of Artists’ Group of Charlestown members Anthony Abate and Karla Quattrocchi.

The doll theme gave many AGC artists the opportunity to explore and rethink their usual mediums and create something new. The theme also brought some local artists to exhibit in the Charlestown gallery for the first-time.

Matt Towler of Malden uses dolls as his medium. He heard about the show through a friend of a friend. It was a perfect match for his medium. “Qandisa” is an 8”tall figure with one blue eye and one red eye, a mass of black hair a black face veil and crackled white skin. It is the anti-doll of dolls.

Karen Rothman, a retired elementary art teacher from Newton, made two acrylic paintings: “Raggedy (1915 –)” and “Barbie’s Breakdown”. Karen’s small canvases make a large impact in color and content. “Raggedy” is an up-close portrait of the Raggedy-Ann doll face, the sweet image from a simpler time. An interesting companion is “Barbie’s Breakdown” which crafted a new emotional “Barbie” in a literal meltdown. Maybe even perfect Barbie has bad days once in a while!

AGC artist Tony Abate created an installation of “doll” art. “The Voodoo and the Jumbie”, a textured 4’ x 8’ display layered with informational text, photographs and 3D voodoo dolls. Tony’s unexpected creation turned a doll theme into a spiritual one.

There may be a repeat performance of “Dolls on the Wall” for all who missed this great weekend of art. Michele Cohen, the art director of the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College, expressed an interest in recreating this exhibit for their gallery next year. A wonderful compliment to all the artists who participated!

The Artists’ Group of Charlestown wishes to thank all the participating artists who exhibited their work, the volunteers who contributed their time to staff the gallery and the members of the Charlestown community who attended and expressed their support of our mission to bring visual arts to the community.

By Jeanne Finnerty