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John Spriggins’ “Paper Dolls” opens at South Dallas Cultural Center

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By Lorrie Irby Jackson – Special to Dallas South News

Thanks to media’s instant and ubiquitous sway on life, love, and pop culture, it should come as no surprise that the power of words has been artfully translated into a stunning exhibit that debuted at South Dallas’ Cultural Center last Friday.

John Spriggins discussing "Paper Dolls"

John Spriggins discussing "Paper Dolls"

“Paper Dolls,” created by Dallas native John Spriggins, combines the concept of a girls childhood pastime—posed paper dolls— with the all-too-adult influence of media on the souls and psyches of today’s women.

Mr. Spriggins, the father of a young daughter, became fascinated with the sheer amount of overlapping subject matter and the redundancy of the messages that the magazines targeted at women convey. Each article “tried to have a different spin” on subjects like diet, fashion, sex and relationships, but “it was the same topics over and over again,” he laughs. “It made me wonder how (women are) being influenced and exactly how much of it is being retained.”

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The affect is visually arresting: vividly-hued backdrops of twenty life-sized collages filled with provocative headlines, formed in the varying shapes and poses of the feminine physique. Some pieces focus on health (“The Beauty Diet,” “Eat Your Way Slim”) or pure objectification (“Boob Job Envy,” “Get Sexy Now”), while others are about friendships and couple issues (“Why Guys Cheat,” “Could Your Man Be Gay”). As for the dolls’ obvious lack of faces, Mr. Spriggins says that it was a purposeful move designed to keep each image as universal as possible. “Every woman is different, of course, but in life, they’re all facing the same issues. I want people to reflect on what society expects versus what they may expect of others and to try to strike a balance between the two.”

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Nicole Jones, one of the models who posed for the “Why Guys Cheat” display, said that it was a collaborative effort from start to finish, with each conversing with Mr. Spriggins about which issues resonated the most before they posed in form-fitting clothing, were photographed and transformed into silhouettes via computer. Ms. Jones, a college friend of the artist, stated that she felt it was an honor to play a part in “setting a positive example” for women in general that all have beauty and worth.

The center’s curator, Vicki Meek, was all-too-glad to showcase “…Dolls” because each piece makes a strong statement. “John’s always thinking, analyzing and perfecting” what he wants to present, she says of the enterprising artist she met over four years ago. “The man is going places and worthy of bigger and better things. If one’s interest is in serious art, then they should look out for him.”

“Paper Dolls” runs through Nov. 28, 2009 and is free and open to the general public.

Lorrie Irby Jackson is a freelance journalist based in Dallas and has covered entertainment professionally for several years, writing many for The Dallas Morning News. Her e-mail address is lorrie.irby@gmail.com.

Edited by Shawn Williams

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