This work greets you as you enter the Art Gallery of Alberta. Does it give you any ideas?
Vera Gartley, Tons of Ideas, 1990. Formed plastic sheet, painted, Art Gallery of Alberta Collection, gift of the artist, 2012.
The artist’s use of text and signage challenges the inescapable nature of advertising and helps generate a dialogue between her, the work and the audience. Gartley creates a sign that advertises nothing while using the materials and language of advertising. The absence of a saleable product prompts viewers to consider our preconditioned mindset to consume, which is conventionally encouraged by the number of advertisements we see in daily life.
My work in the late eighties and early nineties operated within the scene of desire and consumerism. I used fragments from advertisement captions and presented them on factory fabricated industrial signage. The industrial look of aluminum boxes and backlit lettering on acrylic pan faces maximized the hype in advertising while omitting the promised goods. My hope was to capitalize on viewer-preconditioned mindset and affect… isolating the quality of persuasiveness as the subject of the work.