Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt: Lost and Found

Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt: Lost and Found

Markham Public Art

February 26, 2024
Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt
Lost and Found
January 27–May 5, 2024
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Artist talk: March 2, 2–4pm
Found Sounds: April 6, 2–4pm
Markham Public Art
Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 216 Main St Unionville, Unionville
Markham Ontario L3R 2H1
Canada
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–4pm,
Saturday–Sunday 10am–5pm

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The City of Markham’s Public Art Program in partnership with the Varley Art Gallery of Markham presents Lost and Found, a newly commissioned public art project by artist duo Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt on view at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham from January 27 through May 5, 2024.

Lost and Found unfolded as a series of constructed situations along the Rouge River Trail in Unionville throughout the summer and fall of 2023. Augmented by specially designed t-shirts and musical carts, it was brought to life through everyday activities embodied by local community groups and amateur musicians.

In January 2024, the project transitions into the gallery space to formalize a visual language that frames individual experiences along the trail as “artworks” through the presentation of objects and ephemera in an interactive installation. Here, visual and audio devices—sculpture, field recordings, newspapers, and posters—are utilized to retrace the fragments and narratives of earlier events, while new situations and engagements unfold live in the gallery. 

Wandering, practicing, improvising, and experimenting are revealed here not only as preparations but as substantial activities in themselves. Lost and Found locates these activities in public space, designating chance encounters as a potential site for the formation of publics.

Holly Ward’s work explores the role of aesthetics in the formation of social realities, while Kevin Schmidt’s practice delves into the artist’s role in a spectacle-driven society, exploring faith, mythmaking, craft, and popular culture. Their collaborative projects include Eye of the Beholder, sculptural cameras obscura situated outside of Dawson City for the Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Festival (2016), and The Pavilion, a 22-foot geodesic dome located in rural Heffley Creek BC, serving as a catalyst for artistic experimentation, and being performed as an interdisciplinary life-as-art project (2011–).

Artist talk with Kevin Schmidt and Holly Ward: Saturday, March 2, 2–4pm
The artists will delve into the process of conceiving the project, discussing its inception, research, artistic strategies, and manifestations within the wider scope of their general practice and previous projects.

Found Sounds: Saturday, April 6, 2–4pm
Musicians from Lost and Found will gather in this celebratory musical event to play in the exhibition space, performing material they practiced along the trail or in the gallery, or improvising on their own instruments and the musical carts created by the artists. The artists will be in attendance.

Lost and Found musician practice sessions: Saturdays and Sundays, 2–4pm
Throughout the exhibition, the amateur musicians who played along the Rouge River Trail during the summer and fall will animate Lost and Found. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, visitors will encounter a musician or musical group practicing their respective instruments in the gallery space.

Lost and Found is curated by Yan Wu, City of Markham’s Public Art Curator. A publication documenting and reflecting on the project will be launched in April 2024, co-published by Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. 

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Markham Public Art
February 26, 2024

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