From Shawn Williams – Dallas South News Editor
On Saturday, South Dallas artist John Spriggins will open a new show just down the street from his work space. Spriggins latest work “Paper Dolls” debuts at the South Dallas Cultural Center on October 24th and is a look at how media influence female self image.
Early this week I visited John at his studio as he prepared for the show and had a chance to look at some of the 20 images that make up “Paper Dolls.” Spriggins drafted some of his female friends and acquaintances to pose for a work that offers his take on female sense of self and how self perception is developed.
The idea came about as Spriggins and a cousin talked about what it’s like raising daughters in this day and age. He looked at the images that females receive through various forms of media, but eventually settled on how magazines covers speak to women.
If you look closely enough, you may catch that the poses and theme are a nod to the paper dolls that were popular in previous centuries, when little girls would cut out clothes on a sheet of paper and paste them on the “perfectly shaped” women on the page. From cartoons to commercials, images of how women should look, think, and feel constantly bombard them.
“The women that I spoke with have (image) issues that come from a variety of places,” Spriggins says, “and these magazines offer redundant information and quick fixes.” After giving the models a survey of 10 questions, he used the their answers to fill the “paper doll” silhouettes with messages he clipped from magazine covers.
Dallas South News will do a full review of the show next week, but I will say that seeing images of these pieces on Facebook did nothing for what they look like up close. There are multiple levels of interaction that take place between the 20 dolls and their guests. Each image is so rich with detail and so full of information that the project should lend well to multiple viewings. I can’t wait to meet these ladies again on Saturday.
“Paper Dolls” opens Saturday October 24th at 5 pm where John Spriggins will talk about his motivation for the work. The event is free and open to the public. The “Paper Dolls” exhibition runs through November 28, 2009.