Chapel Gallery is pleased to welcome visual artists NANCY SLAGHT and MARY-ELLEN THREADKELL’S exhibition Connected Presence .  The exhibition features their independent art practices and highlights their most recent work as well as a new collaborative mixed media piece titled Connected Presence; the theme of all the works presented.

Long-time artists in our community,  Slaght and Threadkell’s close friendship has included working collaboratively over 10 years which have both strengthened their individual creative voices within their own practises.  “Working together stimulates our creative processes while critically growing each collaborative piece – Ego is left at the door”. 

Slaght paints Metaphor from her life experiences.  Working in a series affords her the opportunity of approaching variations on a theme thereby encouraging continual experimentation with mixed media that allows one image or idea to lead to the next.

Threadkell paints and draws what she sees around her with the goal of trying to capture the intrinsic value of the experience of frozen moments by focusing on what she sees through light, shadows, reflections and refractions.

Connected Presence includes two different approaches and styles: from colourful abstracts to flights of fantasy, which includes detailed realism and contemporary abstract impressionism. The Artists’ work features mixed media, pastels, drawing with inks, graphite and oils.  Their different approaches and variety of materials and media speak to their individual focus and creative directions.  Their work is a reminder to themselves and viewers to be present and catch and treasure those collected moments in our lives.

Many of us are often reminded to be present, to be in the moment; the act of being present maintains balance in our lives.  

NANCY SLAGHT - Artist Statement

Small and large life experiences create a connected presence for me: watching my grand-niece baby take her first breath; glimpsing a larch in the mountains in the fall and the aroma of the different seasons for evergreen needles; leaves going from green to gold and bark darkening to black; I love dancing, and feel the uplift of spirit when singing with the congregation at Sunday service; jogging on the waterfront; quietly studying each morning; laughing at the crows antics on the wires outside my windows…..I paint Metaphor.  My imagination leaps in pondering the next metaphor.  The very act of painting, creating quiets my excitable nature and is vital to me as a functioning happy human being. Working in a series has been my way of approaching variations on a theme affording me the opportunity to stay with an idea, settle and allow one image to lead to the next.  My love affair with soft pastel on papers has been deeply engaging but I have delighted in expanding my exploration into mixed media on wooden cradles. For a few years now it has been so beneficial to spend time each week collaborating with Mary-ellen as we challenge each other to see and record in ways that are new but still connected.  



Nancy Slaght is a Victoria artist living and working in her seaside home/studio. A BC resident of 35 years, she was raised in Calgary Alberta 3 rambunctious brothers enjoying a great love of athletics and the outdoors. Earliest recollections of art from Glenbow Museum Sales and Rentals program gracing our walls are vivid. Classical and jazz music played from the stereo. And credit goes to my family of pragmatists and professionals for bringing a balance to my esoteric nature and contributing to the making of my living with my hands. Nancy began her art practice in her late 30’s after marrying young, travelling with a Christian rock band and living abroad in Great Britain, Europe and Japan.  Nancy enrolled at the Victoria College of Art and during the summer between the 2nd and 3rd years she opened a box of soft pastels. Their immediacy and ability to function as a drawing and painting medium hooked her. Supporting herself with a cleaning business and life modeling Nancy graduated with VCA and Associate Diplomas in 1996/97. Nancy has exhibited at Winchester Galleries, AGGV Art Rental & Sales Victoria and Mt. Avens Gallery, Canmore, AB. In addition to her exhibition work she continues to teach weekly classes and hold workshops on Vancouver Island and in Alberta.  Nancy’s work is held in private collections in Japan, the UK, USA, and Canada.   


Never bored, I continually find my connected presence and inspiration with what I see around me; the way the light hits a wall in my bedroom, reflections of inanimate objects on the table or thru sunrises, sunsets and how light and shadow plays on water and farm fields .  My goal is trying to capture the intrinsic value experiences of those frozen moments by focusing on shadows, reflections and refractions.   Sometimes the connection to what I see and feel is immediate and takes my breath away.  I am sublimely present on those occasions.  Other times the excitement comes when I find that ‘catch your breath’ moment upon viewing the many iPhone photos that I take.  Being present is necessary for me to abstractly join the visual and emotive connective experience with the act of painting in oils. When I have thumb nailed my composition, the dance of laying, layering, removing and integrating the paint onto my chosen surface begins.  The choreography changes with the various intrigues of colour, tone and hue as I travel the map of my connected journey in a piece.  


Exhibiting artist Mary-ellen Threadkell lives in Sidney BC.  Born in Montreal, Quebec she spent her growing years in Alberta where she was happiest at the family cabin at Gull Lake swimming, sailing, horseback riding and catching frogs.  Mary-ellen’s enjoyment of nature has always played a major role in her art.  As a water loving sailor here and abroad, her frozen memory moments also come from her travels when she stumbles across what makes her feel an integral part of what she sees.  Mary-ellen also thrives in an environment helping to facilitate and grow other artists’ practises. Her career as a senior Arts Administrator includes:  the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Co-ordinator of the Art Gallery Paint-In for 15 years); Victoria College of Art (Registrar); Calgary Philharmonic (Assistant GM); and Welsh Arts Council (Assistant Director Drama & Dance).  Formal Education includes: Victoria College of Art, University of Calgary Visual Arts, Banff School of Fine Arts, Cardiff Institute of Art and Design and Mount Royal University. She is a community volunteer:  Founding board member of the Victoria Visual Arts Legacy Society, past board member of the Vancouver Island School of Art, a juror for Sculpture Splash, Esquimalt, and a volunteer with the Sooke and Sidney Fine Arts Shows.  Mary-ellen has shown her work in BC & Alberta and her pieces are held in private collections in Canada, UK, France, Spain, US, Mexico & Japan.   


Slaght and Threadkell’s close friendship has been enhanced by working collaboratively over many years and has strengthened their individual creative voices within their own practises.  “Working together stimulates our creative processes while critically growing each collaborative piece – Ego is left at the door”.