Schmidt's title for his current work (Gyres) is revealing about the artist on various levels. As a surfer who is an artist and an artist who is a surfer, the Gyres series examines Schmidt's daily experience of riding the curl on his surfboard. The monochromatic forms of this series can be viewed as abstractions of the atmospheric foam forms caused by the accelerating waves as they begin to fold over and curl. On a physical and metaphysical level, he is nestled between four of the five major ocean gyres which are continuously rotating clockwise and counterclockwise.
Schmidt spoke of his influences of Robert Irwin's illuminated disc when referring to Gyre #3. He focused on the circular form that appeared to simultaneously rotate peripherally and vibrate magnetically in the center. Because Schmidt was responsible for the installation and lighting of his series, he was able to maniuplate the lighting and optimal placement of each work.
Like the Light and Space artists that Schmidt is inspired by, (Robert Irwin and Craig Kauffman), each Gyres piece sensuously hones in on the lights of the gallery space and electrifies each sculpture as individualized site vortices.
Regarding the exclusivity of the plastic milk bottle as an art medium, Schmidt said he felt he was already working with material that was perfectly designed. As in Marcel Duchamp's Readymades, the artist choose everyday objects such as the Bottle Rack, and the Fountain (urinal), that also stood on their own merits. Deconstructing the same design form of the milk bottle, aloud Schmidt to have consistency of sculptural forms creating subliminal spirituality.
Gyre #3 2013 (plastic containers, zip ties, metal structure) 64"x64"x20"
Installation view of Gyres Series
Gyre # 4 2013 (plastic containers, zip ties, metal structure) 39"x39"
Carl Berg and Steve Schmidt at artist talk 3/23/13