JEAN DAVIS & NANCY WU OF RESURRECT STUDIO
-Jean and Nancy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today, both personally and as an artist.
The story of Nancy and Jean and Resurrect Studio came about humbly like a day in the life of frog and toad. We both were working in the 2-D medium of stained glass, as well as in watercolors and oils. A weekly walk to a landfill beach in Brooklyn where we’d pick up littered glass fragments initially in service to others lent itself to a new kind of art-making dependent on the tide. Jean’s “mind’s eye” was skilled in the art of scavenging especially mother nature’s gifts like rocks, wood and shells, but presented here was the question of total garbage, and was it possible to convey to others the inspiration that we felt from stooping to pick up these shards? Everything in the universe rises up to support the power of intention when approached with a heart full of gratitude.
The pieces collectively tell a story of hope and inspiration, of sacred and profane. With utterly no idea why we were collecting pieces, the landfill became our shopping center, a veritable trove of indigenous gemstones. We began integrating these pieces into our 2-D works when one day Nancy stood the glass upright creating a sculpture. Layers came to life like 3D watercolors. The effect has a mind of it’s own, like watercolor pigments blending, drying and mineralizing on paper. One can’t take credit for it; it happens on it’s own. The dripping of resin onto the glass similarly adds this unpredictability of melds, with random little bubbly rivers that stop moving and dry up at will. Part of our ongoing learning process is to honor the process and not let the ego get invested in the product.
-What does it mean for you to push beyond your comfort zone?
We push and help each other with constructive criticism when we work side by side. Music and dance have a social component in that each can be done independently or collectively. Although there certainly are examples of visual artists working together, working as a pair has total benefits as well as hurdles along the way. We each have our share of hurdles, hardship and unthinkable grief along this journey. As best friends, we help one another stay in a state of gratitude, and try to not to lose sight of the presence of Grace. No one is spared of the human condition of sorrows. In the words of Nancy’s grandfather, John C.H. Wu, “The sorrows are there together with the joy, but they only serve to sweeten the joy. For the sorrows are the sorrows of the ages; but the joy is the Joy of Eternity!”
(from Beyond East and West, Sheed & Ward, 1951.)
-What makes your process unique?
Perhaps we are more of a philosophy than a studio. The medium of stained glass has traditionally been reserved and associated with the sacred. However, these profane, fragmented pieces like the discarded and marginalized in this world, need only be brought to Light to realize their full splendor. This is the philosophy of Resurrect Studio: whereby we realize the gift of the sunrise and the preciousness of each day; whereby we have a chance to cultivate the art of life, the most difficult practice to master; whereby we are aware that unto dust we shall return, to find that one day we get dusted off, redeemed, and ultimately brought into the Light.