Jim Davis (1901-74)

Filmography (partial)

Transparent Plastics (1946), 11 minutes

Light Reflections (1948), 14 minutes

Jersey Fall (1949), 7 minutes

Taliesin - East (1950), 9.5 minutes

Taliesin - West (1950), 6 minutes

John Marin (1950), 24 minutes

Pertaining to Marin (1950), 10 minutes

The Sea (1950), 9 minutes

Refractions No. 1 (1951), 6.5 minutes

Color Dances No. 1 (1952), 8 minutes

Evolution No. 1 (1953), 6 minutes

Through the Looking Glass (1953), 8 minutes

Analogies, No. 1 (1953), 9.5 minutes

Becoming (1955), 8.5 minutes

Pertaining to Chicago (1957), 16.5 minutes

Energies (1957), 9.5 minutes

Impulses (1959), 9 minutes

Death and Transfiguration (1961), 9.5 minutes

Fathomless (1964), 11 minutes

Figure and Shadows (1972), 10.5 minutes

In 1953 Davis wrote an essay that was published in Films in Review:

In the motion picture camera the artist has a tool that enables him to communicate to his fellow men all that is new and progressive in contemporary existence and thought. the motion picture camera opens up a vast new subject matter–the unexplored world of visual movement. Now, for the first time in history, an artist can express reality dynamically instead of statically. In the artist’s increasing perception of the role of motion, in nature and the universe (and man’s life) future historians will discern our day’s major contributions to the development of the visual arts...

Because motion picture film is a dynamic medium, the artist, by means of it, can depict and deploy concepts of modern science that have hitherto defied representation. Current scientific dogma describes reality statistically, not statically, as a never ending flux, a continuous process of becoming. Even the man in the street now speaks of time as the fourth dimension, to the relativism implicit in the space-time concept, and to electronically revealed glimpses of the microscopic and the macroscopic, our thoughts, and our dreams, alter. With what, if not with these alterations, should the genuine artists be concerned? And with what but the motion picture camera can the artist express these new perceptions and intuitions?...

When watching my films it is a mistake to search for hidden meanings, or try to identify shapes with familiar concrete objects. I do not know what these invented forms signify, or adumbrate. Nor does anyone else–yet. I only know they have the power to elicit emotional, imaginative, and intelligent responses, which vary with each individual. Their meaning is of the future, and may lie in the realm of kinetics, or in that of optics. Their meaning may ultimately be nuclear. But my purpose is to stimulate interest in hitherto unperceived aspects of the physical universe, in hitherto unrecognized potentialities in the human imagination, and not to explain them.