MAIN SPACE EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 3 – SEPTEMBER 25, 1999
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1999 AT 8 PM
ARTIST MEET AND GREET: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1999 AT 2 PM
LOCATION – STRIDE GALLERY
722, 11 AVE S.W, CALGARY, ALBERTA
SPREAD is an exhibition of advertisement bedspreads using advertising imagery from the 1950s and 90s. Such advertising was directed at the new middle-class—the almighty consumer of the day. The quits refer to chenille bedspreads of the 1950s and depict the T.V. cowboy hero Roy Rodgers and others refer to advertising slogans used primarily in the automotive industry—futuramic, prestomatic and roadability. These advertisements reflected the product manufacturers’ enthusiasm to appeal to these new consumers. Ironically, Menzies’ boldly addresses these issues while working within the tradition of quilt-making.
LESLEY MENZIES was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and now lives in Calgary. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta in 1989 and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary in 1994. Her work has been shown regionally several times.
Spread deals with adverstising – specifically advertising in the 1950s and 1960s which, for the most part, was directed at the new middle-class. The increase in two-income families during the 1950s was directly related to consumerism. Homes, cars, refrigerators, television,s and the like, all necessitated to higher incomes.
This rising middle-class represented terra incognito to product manufactures and advertisements reflected their enthusiasm to appeal to these new consumers. Merchandisers would enlist the use of various devices to best entice consumers and attract their notice. Full-sized two-dimensional cut-out mannequins, such as those used for movie-theater promotions, flanked new products and served as stand-ins for the potential new owner of the product offered for sale. Slogans encouraged would-be consumers to commit to the puchase by insinuating a sense of urgency. Catch-phrases bestowed a smartness or style to the product, and the product, in turn, endowed its shrewd purchaser with those same qualities. The litany of product features provided indisputable proof of its quality. They promised Thrift and Thrill!
In print advertisements, paragraph after paragraph touted products’ incomparable and ‘singular’ virtues. Every product was New, Brilliantly styled, New, 100% something, New, at better stores everywhere, only at your authorized dealer, New, this year’s smartest thing, Better, Bigger, the Best, and of course, NEW. Cars in particular were futuramic and sculpturamic in styling, had ultramatic, pretomatic, or gyromatic handling and roadability, parkability, and without a doubt, drivability.
So c’mon! Obey that impulse and be 100% sure. It’s the smartest show of the season. A spirited, breath-taking thing, best described by a low whistle of amazement… guaranteed to put stars in your eyes, and keep them there. So don’t delay, ACT NOW! Supplies are running out!
text by Lesley Menzies