SITE 21Old Post Office, Port Rexton
Steve Payne has an interest in the cultural landscape and an environment that is fast changing. Isthmus is a visual essay documenting the isthmus—about 50 km long and 5 km wide—connecting the Avalon Peninsula to the larger part of Newfoundland. Alongside the dozen small communities on its coasts there have emerged a large nickel-smelting operation, an oil refinery, and an industrial shipyard for building oil-drilling platforms. The area well illustrates the social and physical change occurring in rural Newfoundland today, a place where oil and mineral industries have become the main employers, replacing the fishery as the mainstay of the traditional rural economy. Payne’s practice puts emphasis on the Now during times of transition, which can also be seen in his other recent bodies of work such as False Fronts, Motels and The Last Stands, an elegiac essay on small taxi stands operating in the St. John’s area.
Payne has exhibited work across the country and in Hong Kong. His work is in numerous public collections such as The Canada Council Art Bank, the City of Toronto Archives, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery and the City of St. John's Convention Centre. He is a recipient of project grants from the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts and wishes to acknowledge their support in the production of Isthmus.