Jim Davis: Horizons Of Light

Jim Davis: Horizons Of Light


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. (Please note that this film does not have a head title – Davis never made one. On the disc it follows Fathomless.)

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.

For more comment on the films in Horizons of Light see the English/French book of the same title, edited by Robert Haller. The book is available from Anthology Film Archives.

Technical Specs

Director: Jim Davis
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Duration: 54 min
Colour: B/W & Colour
Certificate: E