Small Waves, Cold Water

Kevin Schmidt

1 Feb to 1 Mar 2003

Opening January 31, 8 pm

Artist's Talk: March 1st, 2 pm

Exhibition Catalogue essay by Sydney Hermant

For the past two years Kevin Schmidt has traveled to Tofino - a mecca of surfing culture on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to create watercolors that display rarely depicted aspects of this sometimes insular culture. In Schmidt's words, "surfing, like many other lifestyles is a method of differentiation." The artist is especially concerned with corporate branding campaigns and the leisure industry marketplace that subsumes activities such as surfing.

Schmidt's images are fused onto fully-functional surfboards and represent the surfing activities of locals, insiders and tourists. Instead of representing the heroic moment when a surfer masters a towering wave, the images chronicle the before and after intervals, such as gearing up, climbing into wetsuits or packing vehicles on the side of the road. These mundane moments relate a lifestyle that is not typified by counter-culture aestheticism, found in surfing magazines or websites, but rather by authentic experience.

Schmidt's work reveals the problematic nature of lifestyle-consumerism by replacing corporate brands with seemingly banal scenes that have a poignancy in their representation of activities too unglamorous for mass-consumption.

Kevin Schmidt is a Vancouver-based artist. His recent exhibitions include Our Favorite Places, a permanent installation at the False Creek Community Centre, Vancouver, Canada; Out of Sight, Surrey Art Gallery, Canada (2000); and Time Capsules, Seattle Airport, USA. Schmidt holds a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design as well as several awards including a project grant from the BC Arts Council.