Dwinell Grant (l9l2-9l)

Composition No. 1, Themis (l940), 4 minutes

Composition No. 2, Contrathemis (l941), 4.5 minutes

Composition No. 2, Contrathemis (second version, 1941)

Abstract Experiments (l94l-42), 8 minutes

Composition No. 3, Spelean Dance (l942), 8 minutes

Color Sequence (l943), 3 minutes

Three Themes in Variation (l945), 5.5 minutes

Composition No. 5, Fugue (1949), 8 minutes

Dream Fantasies (c. 1985), 23.5 minutes

Grant brought to film not only his years as an abstract painter, but also his experience as a lighting director in drama productions (at Wittenberg College). We can see this in the moving spots of light in Themis, just as we can see echoes of Malevich and Kandinsky in some of the graphic forms in this and subsequent films. Some of Grant’s film-making was subsidized by Hilla Rebay and the Museum of Nonobjective Art (NY), but it is not clear that this relationship affected the direction of his film-making.

In l940 Grant wrote the following about nonobjective painting, but he came to feel the same way about nonobjective cinema: "(Nonobjectivism) is part of the earth itself .... In creating it we do not say something about something else, but rather we produce a rhythm which is part of nature’s rhythm and just as deep and fundamental as a heartbeat, a thunderstorm, the sequence of day and night or the growth of a girl into womanhood ... Nature is not something to be commented on, it is something to be."

After l950 Grant received no encouragement to continue with his experimental cinema. That, and the need to support his family, led him to set his work aside, until the l970s when his films were rediscovered and preserved by Anthology. In l980 he was the first Pennsylvania film-maker to win the prestigious Hazlett Memorial Award. (RH)