Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt: Lost and Found Project Publication

Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt: Lost and Found Project Publication

Markham Public Art

May 3, 2024
Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt: Lost and Found Project Publication
Public art project
Varley Art Gallery of Markham
Outdoor courtyard
216 Main St Unionville
Markham ON L3R 2H1

Co-published by Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, the publication Lost and Found, A Public Art Project by Kevin Schmidt and Holly Ward is now available for online ordering.

Lost and Found is a newly commissioned public art project by artist duo Holly Ward and Kevin Schmidt. It unfolded as a series of constructed situations along the Rouge River Trail in Unionville, Markham, Canada, 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 transitioned into the gallery space at the Varley Art Gallery 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.

A collaborative effort between the artists, the curator Yan Wu, and the designer Mark Bennett, the publication Lost and Found, A Public Art Project by Kevin Schmidt and Holly Ward is conceived as the third presentation space in this project. It juxtaposes documentation of activities and events previously taken place on the Rouge Valley Trail and in the exhibition space of the Varley Art Gallery, capturing the diverse cultural heritages of the area, the unique urban natural setting of the trail, and the shifting re/presentation of experience. Centered around a conversation between the artists and the curator and with a Foreword by Niamh O’Laoghaire, Director of the Varley Art Gallery, delineating the history of public art in Markham, this reflection traces the project’s trajectory, from initial inspirations to conceptual and artistic strategies, to aspirations for civic public space.

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–).

Lost and Found is curated by Yan Wu, City of Markham’s Public Art Curator, and co-presented by Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. The exhibition is on view at the Varley Art Gallery from January 27 through May 5, 2024.

To place an order of the publication, please contact Doriana Cabeceiras at dcabeceiras [​at​] markham.ca.

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May 3, 2024

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