He graduated from the famous Saint-Jean-Port-Joli sculpture school in 1973 in Quebec. After several years of teaching wood sculpture, he continued his research molding metals, bronze and aluminum for sculptures.
Having used glass in certain pieces, his interest in this medium grew and he started molding glass.
With the grants he received, he was able to continue to deepen his exploration in Montreal, New York and Seattle, under Francois Houdé, Bertil Vallien, Gene Koss and Hank Murta Adams, respectively.
Payette has continued experimenting with this technique to produce glass sculptures associated with other materials such as wood, bronze, stone, etc. He started his first small studio in 1995 in Drummondville to be able to work as he wanted… 5 years later he moved everything and built his own studio with more space in the country where he lives now, south of Montreal.
He experiments and creates casting glass in sand molds. Like the musician with his instruments, he plays with the sand to create a mold were the glass can give a concrete expression of what is in his mind.
Then he adds the final touch. Some parts are polished. Then he puts the piece on a steel base, or a wood post, or on the wall. He tries to give the glass the impression of lightness, humor or of being sacred.
Tunic, kimono, robe, armor, shield – Gilles Payette interprets these objects through multiple representations, experimenting with form and color: solidifying, twisting, molding, exploring the transparency and opacity of the glass. By concentrating on and deconstructing these objects that protect, that cover, that engirt the body, his work evolves into a meditation on our physicality and the core experience that gives each of us a sense of our selves.
Gilles Payette is a well-known figure in Quebec fine crafts. He has shown extensively in Quebec, Ontario and the US and Europe; he has received many grants and accolades in support of his work. His sculptures can be found in private, public, and institutional collections nationwide.