Bruce Van Patter
“ I have looked at the pastel paintings of Nancy’s and they are astounding. Not just for their technical brilliance but for the concept she’s developed. I love her pursuit of portraying in a still life painting two aspects of life that exist in single fleeting moments: the birds and the elements of music.
Still life often has a solidity to it, unmoving objects nailed in their places by gravity. Nancy has captured movement in her imaginative still life elements that seem to hesitate just long enough for the viewer to share the moment. I feel like the second I look away the birds and music will resume their flights.”
Bruce Van Patter, teacher, artist and writer, 2015, Pennsylvania, USA
Nancy Slaght’s name has been synonymous with intriguing pastel still life paintings for 20 years, when as a recent graduate of the Victoria College of Art, she was invited by the prestigious Winchester Gallery to join their stable of artists’
Just beneath the rendering of fruits, birds, and precious objects pulses an intimate symbolism of life experience and complex relationships.
Backgrounds that range from potent to airy surround and support the subjects that occupy the picture plane together, yet apart. The placement of objects speaks volumes about feelings of togetherness, and of separation.
Nancy’s painings have kept pace with her life, touching on her evolving interests. She introduced us to her blossoming romance with ballroom dancing in a whimsical series of elegant shoes, and sometimes the legs that gave them purpose and movement.
The small charming birds that perch and perform just outside her window became actors, teetering on wires or on the strings of beautiful instruments, counting the beats of the music that drive the dance of life. Sometimes a string snaps, severing that melody of a relationship. Tiny feathered bodies step in and take our place in supporting an unwieldy nest. The weight of the family dynamic is barely suggested, yet we feel it.
Beauty and tension are at work and at odds in her very personal paintings.
She is an award winning dancer in a princess dress. She is a dynamic speaker and performer. She is an introspective loner who allows us glimpses of her very private world.
Her most recent series of birds and nests titled “Nesting Instincts” is a leap forward in the use of the rectangle; in the relationship of the subjects to background, and of positive to nebulous negative space. Her personal shorthand of mark making suggests abstraction as much as rendering.
Her wrist seems looser now in her way of describing the small birds that we know are a part of her language.. The calligraphic flick at the end of a stroke that is part of the suggestion of a nest is confident and elegant. It is a sensitive line enjoying itself in the way that Nancy’s lithe body enjoys the swirl of a beautiful gown as she covers the dance floor with a partner. Formal, yet free, she is a delicate heart in high heeled shoes. She is a complex woman expressing herself honestly, and finding ever increasing opportunities for touches of panache.
She is far beyond making pictures. She is making art.
Catherine Moffat-Taylor SFCA Victoria B.C.
“Your newest work is exquisite. Your technique and the control of your medium are breathtaking. As edges have disappeared, the pieces have become unified, complete and utterly compelling. The complexity of the work is also impressive, many of the pieces taking one into awareness and consideration of a variety of life issues.
In the painting ‘Break’ I love the blurring of the realistic with the abstract which took me deeper into the piece the longer I looked at it. Your backgrounds are things of beauty in and of themselves and commanded as much of my attention as the realistic elements.”
Doreen Greffen, retired teacher, 2012 exhibit, Winchester Gallery, Victoria, B.C.
“As an art instructor Nancy works with infectious enthusiasm to meet each student where they are and facilitate an environment that encourages their confidence and willingness to take some dares”
“ Whether you are tentatively picking up a pencil to draw for the first time or have decades of art-making experience, Nancy meets you were you are when you first come into her studio, and has an uncanny ability to choose exercises, examples and feedback that are just right for each individual.”