Canadian Grand Master, self-taught artist, Jacques Payette was born in Montreal in 1951. His work includes mainly paintings in encaustic (hot wax where the pigments of color are suspended, imprisoned and sealed as the wax cools and freezes), a difficult and very old technique he has mastered with remarkable skill.
A contemporary painter
“Jacques Payette was greatly inspired by his family life and love for his partner. The feelings, although discrete, are nevertheless present and are expressed by scenarios suggesting a metaphysical intensity, especially in his series of the 1980s. For art lovers who have followed his work for about thirty years, they have felt, like me, this impression of intimacy, closeness with his universe, and felt a breath of calm and warm mixed feelings. ” Robert Bernier
“I have a fascination for the absence, the loss and the passage of time. But it is only the present which passes, because the past, him, remains “. “It takes a lot of stubbornness, and no doubt the strength of character to persist in a kind that is not fashionable. But it is even more dangerous to follow the fashions, because they go out of fashion. Above all, we must be honest with ourselves. “” I chose to paint (or is it painting which chose me) to try to understand, feel and appreciate beings and the world where I stroll. I like watching light through during the day, this light which will die in the night, and I’m not sure to have dreamed. ” Jacques Payette
Jacques Payette has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Quebec, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Mexico et Paris. These works of art are found among several major museum collections, private and public such as the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’art de Joliette, the Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal and the Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts, etc.
Jacques Payette (1951)
Jacques Payette was born in Montreal on June 6, 1951. Self-taught, he learned his art through reading, numerous essays and reflections. He keeps away from educational institutions, which allows him to safeguard his freedom of creation and to remain attentive to his own needs. His progress is rapid. He first painted a series where the themes of light, architectural structure and visual distortion predominate. Then Payette leaves more room for material. This dimension of his work is very important: he needs to manipulate, to have direct contact with the material.
Like an intimate ritual in which the conscious and the unconscious are based, this approach allows him to reach a preparatory and complementary concentration. The gesture feeds the concept, develops it and makes it emerge in the concrete.
In the Baisers d’Italie series, produced in the mid-eighties, Payette used Prismacolor pencil on a dark dyed canvas, a darkened shadow. His large romantic landscapes represent the artist and his companion in multiple embraces. He approaches this thematic as it should be, through a representation and a design imbued with personal symbolism. Also, Jacques Payette has great admiration for the Italian Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca and is inspired by him in the design of the landscapes that accompany his characters. The two entwined partners dominate the pictorial space like giants. Double allusion, first to the Italian artist who used to paint his landscapes in distant plan, and then to the sentiment of love that drives the couple. In some paintings, Jacques Payette paints in very small houses with unusual architecture placed at the foot of the characters.
A way of emphasizing the lure of the landscape, which, this time, is no longer in distant plan, but in miniature. In Baisers d’Italie, all the elements recommended by the artist aim to make the spectator an accomplice both of this affectionate wink to this great artist whom he admires and his tender gaze on the accomplice of his life. It allows him to create associative relationships of a different order which link the elements together and allow to reveal the invisible, the mystery that inhabits the character.
Jacques Payette’s painting also has an unusual feature: that of having recourse to different techniques. Each sequence illustrates an artistic approach that seems to fit the subject matter and how it inspires the artist.
So for a series where the temporal dimension is important, Jacques Payette uses an acrylic mixed with baking soda, as well as paint stripper and residues obtained by passing the broom in the workshop. The whole is heated with equally original means designed by the artist. In his most recent works, Jacques Payette uses encaustic, an ancient technique which he adapts to the reality of today’s materials, but while retaining its original base, wax. Payette’s encaustic consists of a mixture of wax, micro-crystalline and resin which stabilizes the chromatic value of the pigments. The whole thing is heated with a barbecue lighter. Of course, it is not necessary to know all this data to understand the work of the artist or to read it, but it is essential to understand the importance of the process that accompanies the creative act, since it is an integral part of the work.
Source : Robert Bernier, Un siècle de peinture au Québec Nature et paysage, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 1999, Jacques Payette, pages 298-299.