He draws on history, ancient ceramics, film and photography to animate his expertly thrown pots. Active in ceramics for over 40 years, Payce has participated in over 150 group and solo exhibitions and numerous artist residencies around the world. In 2013, Payce won a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts ( the Saidye Bronfman Award). His work is in many collections: the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Burlington Art Centre, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Gardiner Museum, the Glenbow Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Early Life, Education and Career
Born and raised in Edmonton, Payce knew from the age of six that he wanted to be a potter and started studying the medium in earnest in high school art classes. Payce attained a BFA from the University of Alberta in 1977 with a minor in anthropology and completed an MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax (now NSCAD University) in 1987. Since 1988, he has been teaching at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary. Payce’s ceramics reference history, such as Ancient Minoan pottery, early Renaissance drug jars, and garniture of vases (groups of three to five intended for the mantelpiece). Initially he played with optical imagery through two-dimensional painted decoration before developing a technique using specialized templates, which he makes himself, to create images of faces, shoes, nudes, and more recently entire villages.
Since 2004, Payce has been documenting his ceramics in video and photography and since 2007 in lenticular photography (three-dimensional plastic laminated composite photographs). Multimedia reinterpretations of his work allow Payce to offer new experiences for viewers and to increase the size and scale in a way that is not always possible in the ceramic medium. In 2005, he moved away from low-fired earthenware and monochromatic terra sigillata glazes to fired porcelains, expanding his colour palette. Payce’s ceramics are illusionist, cinematic, and always rich with history and humour.
Payce received a bronze commission for SSSSSSSSSSSSSSS from the Calgary Airport Authority in 2004.