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Horizons of Light Horizons of Light

Horizons of Light Horizons of Light
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The six Jim Davis films in this Horizons of Light collection span the years 1947 to 1971, from when Davis began to make films to when, because of increasing illness, he stopped. These films collectively show how Davis began to make films to document his light sculpture, but then found in cinema an effulgently richer world to explore. On this disc is his laconic Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, a previously unknown film where the shape of the movie enlarges our experience of watching it. Made in 1958, this document, Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, is a concise vision of the human imprint on the world: from moving out of nature (Pennsylvania) into urban sprawl (Chicago), and then into the precisely planted fields of Illinois. Three years later, in 1961, Davis looked again at the human image - in a larger context-with Death and Transfiguration. This sound film focuses not only on his initial interests, light and energy, but is a stoic contemplation on the place of man in the cosmos. Davis had begun making abstract light films in 1947 with his Light Reflections (here in his re-edited 1952 version) and continued with ever more complex treatments of illuminated space, such as Fathomless in 1964, and Sea Rhythms in 1971. It is not a coincidence that both of these latter titles used oceanic terms. The sea was both a subject and a metaphor for Davis. On this disc too is his 1950 Landscape which collects some of the movement inflected paintings he made before he embraced cinema. This DVD contains: Death and Transfiguration, 1961 Light Reflections, 1952 Landscape, 1950 Fathomless, 1964 Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, 1957-59 (Please note that this film does not have a head title-Davis never made one) Sea Rhythms, 1971 James Edward Davis (1901-74) began making films in 1946, at first to document his experiments in light sculpture, but then to explore how the motion picture could enlarge the scope of his work as an artist, and extend the understanding of nature. Davis' encounter with motion pictures came at a time (post-World War II) and at a place (Princeton University) where the pace of change and discovery was the only constant. His belief in the force of change and growth can be seen in key words that appear in the titles of his films: becoming, transfiguration, transformation, flow, and evolution. Scientific curiosity and artistic innovation led him to make scores of films. In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s he was known (to a small but influential audience) for his symphonic, color abstractions. But he also made documentary portraits of Frank Lloyd Wright and John Marin, and of the City of Chicago. He also made films of the American landscape, of his own paintings, of the impact of water on the terrain of West Virginia and New Jersey. And not the least, he promoted the recognition of cinema as the art form (what he called the only dynamic art) that offered pertinent insight into the experience of the twentieth century. A member of the first postwar generation of experimental film-makers, his films were invited to and shown at Cinema 16 and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and at experimental film festivals in Europe. The six Jim Davis films in this Horizons of Light collection span the years 1947 to 1971, from when Davis began to make films to when, because of increasing illness, he stopped. These films collectively show how Davis began to make films to document his light sculpture, but then found in cinema an effulgently richer world to explore. On this disc is his laconic Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, a previously unknown film where the shape of the movie enlarges our experience of watching it. Made in 1958, this document, Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, is a concise vision of the human imprint on the world: from moving out of nature (Pennsylvania) into urban sprawl (Chicago), and then into the precisely planted fields of Illinois. Three years later, in 1961, Davis looked again at the human image - in a larger context-with Death and Transfiguration. This sound film focuses not only on his initial interests, light and energy, but is a stoic contemplation on the place of man in the cosmos. Davis had begun making abstract light films in 1947 with his Light Reflections (here in his re-edited 1952 version) and continued with ever more complex treatments of illuminated space, such as Fathomless in 1964, and Sea Rhythms in 1971. It is not a coincidence that both of these latter titles used oceanic terms. The sea was both a subject and a metaphor for Davis. On this disc too is his 1950 Landscape which collects some of the movement inflected paintings he made before he embraced cinema. This DVD contains: Death and Transfiguration, 1961 Light Reflections, 1952 Landscape, 1950 Fathomless, 1964 Pennsylvania/Chicago/Illinois, 1957-59 (Please note that this film does not have a head title-Davis never made one) Sea Rhythms, 1971 James Edward Davis (1901-74) began making films in 1946, at first to document his experiments in light sculpture, but then to explore how the motion picture could enlarge the scope of his work as an artist, and extend the understanding of nature. Davis' encounter with motion pictures came at a time (post-World War II) and at a place (Princeton University) where the pace of change and discovery was the only constant. His belief in the force of change and growth can be seen in key words that appear in the titles of his films: becoming, transfiguration, transformation, flow, and evolution. Scientific curiosity and artistic innovation led him to make scores of films. In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s he was known (to a small but influential audience) for his symphonic, color abstractions. But he also made documentary portraits of Frank Lloyd Wright and John Marin, and of the City of Chicago. He also made films of the American landscape, of his own paintings, of the impact of water on the terrain of West Virginia and New Jersey. And not the least, he promoted the recognition of cinema as the art form (what he called the only dynamic art) that offered pertinent insight into the experience of the twentieth century. A member of the first postwar generation of experimental film-makers, his films were invited to and shown at Cinema 16 and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and at experimental film festivals in Europe.

Additional Info

Additional Info

SKU 2100000018437
Year 1950-71 (DVD 2007)
Director Davis, Jim
Format DVD
Publisher(s) Anthology Film Archives
Countries USA
Colour Colour + B&W
Running time 54 min
DVD region 0, NTSC
Certificate N/a

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