Kevin Schmidt Artist Talk
Followed by the opening reception for Don’t Stop Believing
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
6:30 to 9:00 pm
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle
Free and open to the public
As part of the exhibition Kevin Schmidt: Don’t Stop Believing, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery presents a talk by Vancouver-based artist Kevin Schmidt. Kevin will recount his recent journey to the shores of the Beaufort Sea to produce A Sign in the Northwest Passage, a project featured in this exhibition and as a billboard for Contact festival at the Power Plant. The talk will be followed by the official opening of Kevin Schmidt: Don’t Stop Believing at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.
A Sign in the Northwest Passage is a cedar sign hand-routered with text from the Book of Revelations, the final and most explicitly apocalyptic document in the New Testament. The text describes the destruction of both the natural world and human life: seas turn into blood, humans are plagued with ugly and painful sores, ‘birds eat the flesh of all’. The sign was installed into the seasonal ice that forms and melts each year in the Northwest Passage beyond Tuktoyaktuk, a place complex both as site (a significant oil resource lies below) and landscape (a barren expanse of pure arctic panorama). Driving north from Vancouver, Schmidt worked with locals to install the unanchored sign, which was designed and counter-balanced to float away when the ice melted. The sign was left to survive the spring melt, and then to drift with the wind and currents, quietly proselytizing the end of the world. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
A Sign in the Northwest Passage is an open-ended work, concluding when the sign washes up on shore and is re-discovered, presumably as a wreck. The work is expansive, including at this point the sign itself, stories involved in its making and sightings of it, photographic documentation, and watercolours made by Schmidt as gifts to those that helped make the sign and disseminate knowledge of it.
Born in 1972, Kevin Schmidt graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1997 and currently lives and works in Vancouver. His works have been included in major exhibitions across Canada, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery, Presentation House Gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Mercer Union, and at the Edmonton Art Gallery, among many others; and internationally, at the Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh, Scotland), the Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt, Germany), Norwich Gallery (Norwich, UK ), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway), Kunstverein Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg, Germany), Witte de With (Rotterdam, Netherlands), de Kist (Groningen, Netherlands), Württembergischer Kunstverein (Stuttgart, Germany), Galerie van der Mieden (Antwerp, Belgium) and Galerie Barbara Thumm (Berlin, Germany). Schmidt is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery (Vancouver) and he is the recipient of the 2008 VIVA Award, provided by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation to exemplary British Columbia artists in mid-career.