Kevin Schmidt

Kevin Schmidt’s (b. 1972, Ottawa, Ontario; lives/works: Toronto, Ontario) practice explores the role of the artist in contemporary, spectacle-driven society, particularly with respect to faith, mythmaking, craft, and popular culture. To this end, Schmidt’s work often takes him on an excursion or journey, either nearby, like along the Fraser River in Vancouver, or as far away as the Canadian Arctic. Through these expeditions, he has installed and documented works in the wilderness, as he did in A Sign in the Northwest Passage (2011) a massive cedar billboard, painstakingly hand-routered with text from the Book of Revelations, which he installed with a buoyant base on sea ice, and left it to there to proselytize, even after the ice melted and it floated away in the Spring. In works like DIY HIFI (2017), a work made to be displayed within a gallery space, he takes the same focus on craft and woodworking to build a sculptural, three-metre high sound system based on open source designs produced in from the 1970s; through these works, he critiques society’s urge to commodify and sell anything, be it natural or cultural.

Schmidt holds a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. In 2017, he received the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in Visual Arts from the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 2008, he was awarded the VIVA Award from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts, Vancouver.

Schmidt’s major solo exhibitions include Musee d'art de Joliette, Canada (2022); Vancouver Art Gallery (2018); Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Canada (2015); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2014); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2013); and Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2011). Recent group exhibitions include Lichtparcours 16, Braunschweig, Germany (2016); La Biennale de Montréal (2014); SITE Santa Fe (2014); The Jewish Museum (2014).