Sandra Davis



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     Sandra Davis came to filmmaking in 1978, influenced by painting and a love of classical and baroque musical forms. Many works center around the body as the site of imagistic and dynamic foundations that structure human impulses, feelings and thoughts. Imagery of natural landscape and architecture reoccur. All the films, as any rhythmic forms, are meant to be understood through the body and senses, as well as the conceptual mind. Editing tactics contrast fluid image and lyrical tempos with jagged, metric rhythms. Contradictory meaning can emerge and traditionally understood meaning can collapse in the parallel streams of images, which pulsate together until one of them takes over. The films utilize a variety of cinematographic techniques including optical printing, which emphasizes the light-infused and textural qualities of the photographic frame. An interest outside the studio has been her research and curating of film programs tracing the evolution of symbolic imagery in the avant-garde film, focusing on contributions by women. She has created mixed-media installations, including a phallic projection object/screen for a Gulf War performance and "Evident/Evidence (Duchamp Back-Talk)" (1992) an exploration of natural and media landscapes and the Congressional Hill-Thomas hearings. She has received numerous grants and awards, including the NEA, and a Phelan award for filmmaking. Her work has been included in major retrospectives of experimental film at the Museum of Modern Art, New York "Millennium - A 25 Year Retrospective" (1991); at the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris "Manifest" (1992); at the University of California Berkeley Museum and Pacific Film Archive “Radical Light – Alternative Film and Video in the Bay Area 1945-2000”. It is represented in national and international collections including that of the Museum of Modern Art, Paris. 
This installation is a remake/redux of one initially presented in the "Landscape Revisited" exhibition at the Lakeland Museum in Florida.  The premise of the exhibition was a call for artists to address landscape in an era when we kow the natural world not necessarilyas a refuge into which we might escape, but as a living force which our culture has attempted to manipulate, sell, and exploit to its own benefit.  The piece was a king of Duchamp back-talk.  My concept for "Evid", which involvedthe construction of a mock Florida shack, into which the spectator was forced to "peep" through a burglar viewer eyepiece INTO the interior dark space.  By ringng the doorbell, the viewer ignited a film and aa video loop, which project onto a screen in the center of the dark space.  The loops included images of fragile Florida nature (swamps, birds) and a video intercut of a HOllywood film and footage from the Hill-Thomas senate hearings.  I was interested in the making of a a woman's body and the experience into spectacle (parallel with the exploitation of the natural environment in Florida) and the positing of evil and blame on her.  The piece has been reworked and updated here to include other elements.  The specific complications and contrasts of racial, sexual and cultural identity embedded in these issues was further developed by the intercutting of the Hollywood film, and here, with familiar footage from an interview with a well known television "reporter".  Additionally, the piece presents a problematic regarding the fragile position of the film image vis a vis the dominating electronic image found in every home.

   Wall pieces include prints made directly from 16mm film frames from A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE and unique collage works,  which utilized in  the All That Remains series
  original 16mm film frames as source material, transfered into digital scans and edited into collage.
EVIDENCE     prints  
    13.5” W x 28”H     1993
All That Remains   Series 2011-2012
LEONARDO SOUND MAN  chromogenic print  
      24”W x13.5”H  2011
BLAKEMAN  DOUBLE      chromogenic print
       31.5”W x17”H      2012
EMBRYO GLASS FLYMAN       giclee print
      24”W x 12.5”H  2012
BREAST ECHO BRAIN   giclee print
     23.5”W x 13.5”H     2011
ANGEL HEART    giclee print
     19”W x 12”H       2012
HAND EGG HEART    chromogenic print
     16.5”W x 11.5”H   2012
LEONARDOMAN DECAP   giclee print
      17”W x13”H 2011
     Please inquire artits for 2-D and for film/DVD film copy purchase.
The original 16mm films are being  shown  today on digital video copies
The films of Sandra Davis are distributed by Filmmakers Cooperative, New York and LightCone, Paris France

MATERIAL FILIGREE (1980) 16mm, color & b/w, 18 min
    MATERNAL FILIGREE is obviously vision rising thru inwards... it trembles like poetry, music - its rhythms OF and-at-one-with the experience itself. You have stiched a meaningful weave of symbolism throughout but always in the sense 'make it new' (as Pound translates the Chinese), so that symbol rubs and clashes with symbol, so that each is always vibrant, so that no symbol could harden midst the frets and stops of your 'music' - that symbols be felt beyond any set to of understanding... that none of them be ever anything like pomposity/(the known) but rather always sensual." Stan Brakhage
    “Fighting the conventions of consciousness, Menken, Brakhage and Davis have through the creative act penetrated the so-called conscious mind as well, perhaps, as the so-called subconscious to an area of thought still to be fully explored.”   Marilyn Mason
MATTER OF CLARITY  (1986) 16mm, color & b/w, 30m
      This film seemed to complete a particular cycle of discovery, and I wanted to  bring to completion certain themes, grounded in matter.  I thought it would be a particularly sexual, fun film, moving through the dynamics of contrasexual energy. But it got dark very fast, and at one point I realized I’d thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, cinematically speaking, and just barely managed to get out of it by the seat of pants.
“…rich tactile images of the natural world…convey (the films’s) Blakean revelation of the sensuality of perception and the perception of sensuality”   Ian Christie
AN ARCHITECTURE OF DESIRE  (1988) col & B/W, silent, 18m
     I think of this film as one that led me very precisely through its composition.  First,  I was fascinated during the winter and spring in the "city of the dead"  -- Graceland -- the graveyard containing magnificent, monumental, and some whimsical tombs,  as final resting real estate for significant and wealthy Chicago families.  Then I thought if I could really see closely with my lens, the surface of the skin of the human  body, the barrier between the outside world and the living body; that I could touch the knowledge of what was inside, and unseeable.  Of course I only met up with  its limits.  The next winter, I returned to Chaco Canyon, the ancient pueblos of the Anasazi (ancesters of the contemporary Hope people).  I filmed all day in the kivas.  It had snowed, so I could not get out on the dirt roads, and was forced to spend the night there, in my car.  I woke up suddenly, anxious, in the light of the full moon, to see a large black cat, like a panther, moving down the cliff, and coming directly toward me.  He passed within five feet of me, and then moved away, toward the kivas.  The next day, I read that Anasazi records speak of a race of black panthers, held sacred, and native to the area, but which have now been extinct for centuries.        
A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE  1989-99, 16mm, col/so, 55m
Three women telling their own stories in a non-narrative, non-documentary form.   How do inner conflicts of intimacy, sexual need, and violent impulses emerge in personal relationships?  The evidence includes testimonies  describing experiences of sexuality, love relationships,  births, illegal abortions, adolescence as a Jew in revolutionary Russia and in the  Protestant US Midwest.   Private anecdotes illuminate societal realities of race, culture, and gender. My  “story” contributed contradictory images: the archaic  Florida swamp,  the elegant forms of European medieval architecture, Congress and Anita Hill, the mermaids of Weekie Wachee,   victim heroines of European opera,  abstract color and light explorations.  Bits of 1950’s  educational films testify to scientific belief in cause and effect and stupefying patriarchal convictions of “how to” grow up well, avoid “going bad” and get a date for the prom.   
UNE FOIS HABITEES  ( ONCE INHABITED) (1992-1999)  16mm,col/so 6m
  This is the final film of the French Film Triology.  These works were conceived of as postcards to myself and songs to the passion of place.  I noticed the program in France called them "odes"   which is a lovely word that seems old-fashioned and quite  precise, evoking a sense of both memory and  presence.     The films  emerged quite unlike my other work, as little stories without narratives and recollections of a  French appreciation of American jazz.   Cinematography concentrates on the spectacular natural light of the places:  the films were shot with no special filters,  particular technical  “effects”,  or optical printing.   I made  a game for myself to edit them  so that each could be shown separately, standing alone,  and also be  shown 1 - 2 - 3 ,  as a trilogy form.  I am indebted to poet Joanna McLure for her exacting and evocative reading of the vocal texts.  
(UNE FOIS)   Some particular spaces, inhabited awhile ago.   Looking back into the Parisian  courtyard, looking at the ladies at the villa, looking into the secrets of the chapel of the delinquents.  Light sculpts space; shadow describes form.
A LA CAMPAGNE,  A KHAN-TAN-SU   (INTO THE COUNTRY, TO KHAN-TAN-SU  ) 1992-99, 16mm, col/so,  3.5m
The colors and breezes of the countryside and house in Normandy.  The blue crockery, the yellow lichen, and where the key in the monastary kitchen leads.

CREPESCULE   Pond & Chair   (2001)   16mm film, col/snd 6.5min 
My brother was disabled by muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair for most of his life.   Despite the long, gradual degeneration of his physical condition, he lived with great spirit and heart, married, raised two children, volunteered for his church  and was still working at his profession and building his fish pond on his land, when he died suddenly of complications of MD at age 52.   He was my only brother and when I myself was disabled some years ago in an auto accident,  his attitude of practical adaptions to physical impairments was one that made it easier for me.
(CREPESCULE   Pond & Chair, cont.)
In an irony of life, a little Christmas message from him arrived two days after his sudden death.  This event impelled me to respond with a film.  The chair was his mobility in life, the pond he created was his dream.
This film is a little ellegy song to him,  simultaneously celebrating his life and mourning his family’s personal loss.
IGNORANCE BEFORE MALICE (2006) 16mm, color/snd, 30min
This print includes visual text (intertitles) and audio vocal text in english
A true story – and the aesthetic sequelae of the filmmaker’s recovery process following a 1993 auto accident.   Parallel voices of narrativized testimony describing a woman’s struggle to  heal within the American medical system, and a personal rumination on the journey through a sudden rupture of health into disability. Feeling my brain in the act of consiousness in viewing the MRI cells, images from art history, personal history and fantasy exploded.   As did the elements of the sound track.
Filmed entirely on the animation stand (except for that one little shot).
“Sandra Davis crafted meticulous film-poems with haunting symbolic motifs;”
P 155  , Steve Anker “Radicalizing Vision:  Film and Video in the Schools” Radical Light  Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000
Edited Steve Anker, Kathy Geritz, Steve Seid   
University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles    2010
1503 Hyde Street          
San Francisco, CA  94109
PH and FAX   415-474-6822  (e-mail  [email protected]) cell 415-317-1607        
1976-78 San Francisco Art Institute, M.F.A., 1978, Filmmaking
  Individual study with Gunvor Nelson, Larry Jordon, Malcolm LeGrice
1975-76 San Francisco Art Institute, B.F.A., 1976, Filmmaking  
1973-74 University of California, Graduate Film Program, Paris. 
Studies at Vincennes and Ecole Practique with Michel Marie
and Christian Metz.  Research in Prague, Czechoslovakia
1972 Summer AIFS Student, Leningrad and Moscow, U.S.S.R.
1970-73 University of California, Berkeley, Philosophy / Art (inclusive film art)
Sept.1999-June 2001 Visiting Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute.  Advanced Film, Graduate Seminar, Motion Graphics, Poetic Documentary. S-8 & 16mm film; analog & digital video.
Dec. 1990-June 1996 Associate Professor, Art Department, University
of South Florida.  16mm film production, all levels. Video. Optical Printing. Tutorials.  History of Film. Film and the Avant-Garde.  Director Paris Summer Film Program.  Curator Fine Arts Film Series
Jan. 1993-May 1993  Visiting Artist, Calif. College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland.
  4-D Core curriculum.
Sept. 1993-Dec. 1993  Visiting Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute.  Film Seminar: Women and the Avant-Garde
Sept. 1986-1989 Assistant Professor, Art Department, University of South Florida. 16mm film production, all levels. Tutorials. 
History of Film.  Film and the Avant- Garde.  
Director, Fine Arts Film Series.  Director,
Paris Summer Film Program.  Co-director, Chinsegut
Festival 1986-89.
Sept. 1985-Sept. 1986 Chairman, Film Department, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Visiting Assistant Professor.  Courses:  16mm Production; Tutorials; Avant-Garde Cinema & 20th Century Art;   Women and Filmmaking.
page 2   Vitae   Sandra L. Davis 
Sept. 1984-Feb. 1985  Visiting Artist,  Film Department, 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Courses:  16mm Production; Film History and Theory; Tutorials.
Sept. 1980-Sept. 1985  Adjunct Professor of Art and Humanities, John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA.  Courses: Film and Consciousness; S-8 & 16mm Production; Color Theory Workshop; Women and Filmmaking; Film History; Myth and Archetype in the Arts.Curator, campus film series.
Jan. 1980-Jan. 1981    Instructor, Art Department, Sonoma State Unversity.
Intermediate Filmmaking, production S-8 & 16mm.
ALLELUIA POOL   1975, color, sound.
SHADOW FAUN   1976, color, silent.
SOMA   1977, color and B/W, silent.  Print funded by
  Louis B. Mayer Foundation Grant.
MATERNAL FILIGREE   1980, color and B/W, silent.  Funded in part by 
  Jerome Hill Foundation.
MATTER OF CLARITY   1981-85, color and B/W, sound.  Funded in part
  by NEA Regional Media Fellowship.
OF DESIRE   1988, color and B/W, silent.  Funded in part by
  NEA Regional Media Fellowship and University of
  South Florida Research Grants.
EVIDENT / EVIDENCE            (Film/Video Installation)         1992, Mixed Media.
A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE        1989-99, color and B/W, sound  Funded in part by Phelan Award and USF Research Grant.
AU SUD                                    1999, color sound. Funded in    part by Florida Arts Council Individual Artist   Grant.
UNE FOIS HABITEE               1992-99, color sound
A LA CAMPAGNE                    1991-99,  color sound
CREPESCULE:   POND & CHAIR               2001, color sound
Museum of Modern Art, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris
Archives du Film Experimentales, Avignon  France
Vassar College, USA
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Miami-Dade Library Film Collection, Miami, Florida
San Francisco International Film Festival 2007 New Visions Official Festival Selection  
 Ignorance Before Malice
San Francisco International Film Festival,  2000  “New Visions” Certificate of Merit for experimental documentary  A Preponderance of Evidence
Phelan  Award for Filmmaking, 1992
Florida Arts Council, Individual Artist Grant, 1988
University of South Florida Research Council Grant, for Filmmaking, 1987
University of South Florida Fine Arts Council Research Award, 
  for travel, 1987
San Francisco Art Institute International Film Festival, Prize, 1987
NEA Regional Media Fellowship, 1985
NEA Regional Media Fellowship, 1984
Ann Arbor Film Festival, Committee Selection, 1981
San Francisco Art Institute International Film Festival, First Prize, 1981
Jerome Hill Foundation Grant for Independent Filmmakers, 1980
Louis B. Mayer Foundation Grant,  1977
Anthology Film Archives, New York.  2-Program Retrospective 2009
Cinemateque, San Francisco, CA  March 2007
Millenium.  New York, May 2010;  June 2001;  May 1997; March 1990
Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley Art Museum.  Nov. 2000
Scratch Cinema.   Paris,  March 2000
Cinemateque.   San Francisco, CA,  December 1999
Museum of Film.  Brussels, Belgium, June 1991.
Scratch Cinema.  Paris, France, June, 1991.
London Filmmaker's Cooperative. London, May 1991.
Austrian Filmmaker's Cooperative.  Vienna, Austria, May 1991.
Innis College and Art Gallery of Ontario.  Toronto, Canada,
  October 1990. 
Cinemateque.  San Francisco, California, October 1989.
Guest Artist, Center for the Fine Arts.  Denver, Colorado,
  April 1986.
Guest Artist, Rocky Mountain Film Center.  Boulder, Colorado,
  April 1986.
Guest Artist Presentation:  School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
  Chicago, IL, December 1984.
Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center Musee du Film.  “From the Margins – The   Origins.   San Francisco Experrimental Filmmakers. May 2007
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg France.  “From the Margins – Then and Now.   San Francisco Experimental Filmmakers. May 2007
Confluence, Paris France.  “From the Margins – Varieties of Political Response”.  San Francisco Experimental Film 1960’s – 2007.
CSUS Festival of the Arts, March 2005 Sacramento CA.   Perspectives in Contemporary           Art:   “Re-Framing & Re-Presentation”  the films of Sandra Davis 
Museum of Fine Arts,  March 2000. “Contemporary Women in American Experimental
   Film”.  Strasbourg, France.   
Cinemateque, March 1999.   “Radical Re-Presentation:  Women, Surrealism and Film”. 
  Co-organizer of film series and curator 3rd program in association with MOMA exhibition 
  by Whitney Chadwick   “Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism and Self-Representation”.   San Francisco.
Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center Musee du Film, June, 1991.  "Women and
  Filmmaking:  The Avant-garde and Symbolic Imagery", Paris, France.
Austrian Filmmaker's Coopertive, June 1991.  "Women & Filmmaking:  The
  Avant-Garde and Symbolic Imagery".
Pleasure Dome, October 1990.  "Women & Filmmaking:  The Avant-Garde and
  Symbolic Imagery".  Toronto, Canada.
International Experimental Film Festival, June 1989.  "The Body and Film",   Toronto, Canada.
International Experimental Film Festival, June, 1989.  Panel participant,
  "Vision and Language:  Experimental & Textural Strategies in Film".
Filmmaker's Cooperative, May 1988.  "Women and Film:  The Symbolic Image".
  London, England.
Scratch Cinema, May 1988.  "Filmmaking:  The Avant-Garde & Symbolic 
Imagery".  France.
Film Alliance, March 1988.  "Symbolic Imagery & Film".  Miami, Florida.
Film Forum, February 1988.  "Symbolic Imagery & the Female Vision".
  Los Angeles, California.
Collective for Living Cinema, October 1987.  "Symbolism & Female Imagery".
  New York, New York.
Cinemateque, January 1987.  "Symbolic Imagery & the Female Vision".
  San Francisco, California
2011 Radical Light,   Pacific Film Archives  Crepescule Pond & Chair
2007   Starting From Scratch Festival, Amsterdam.  Ignorance Before Malice     February
San Francisco International Film Festival Official Selection New Visions        Ignorance Before Malice   May
2006               TIE Festival, Denver Colorado  Ignorance Befor Malicee 
                        FLEX Festival, Gainesville FL Igonranc Before Malicee                        
2006                Ici Comme Ailleurs    Museum of Frontignan, France.   Au Sud.  April.
Presence au Quotidien     UTOPIA Cinema, Avignon France. Crepescule    Pond & Chair    March 
2002 San Francisco International Film Festival.  Curated program of       experimental work.     Crepescule    Pond & Chair.    May.
Cinemateque   Maternal Filigree.   Women of the 70’s.  March.
 2000               Museum of Fine Arts.   Contemporary Women in American  Experimental Film.   A Preponderance of Evidence. Strasbourg,   France;  March.
San Francisco International Film Festival.  A Preponderance of Evidence.
San Francisco, CA;  April.
Cinemateque.   Une Fois Habitee.   San Francisco;  October.
1999    Cinemateque  “Radical Re-Presentation:  Women, Surrealism and Film”. An Architecture of Desire .   San Francisco, CA; March. 
1992                Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center.  “Manifest - 30 Years of  Creation in  Retrospective”. Paris, July. Maternal Fligree
Archives du Film Experimental D’Avignon. Avignon France, December.
Polk Museum “The Florida Landscape: Revisited”. Invited Participant.    Film/Video  Installation   EVIDENT/EVIDENCE. Lakeland Fl; September.
1991      Museum of Modern Art. "Millenium - A 25 Year Retrospective";
            New York, October.  An Architecture of Desire
Film Forum.  Los Angeles, Calif; April.
1990 Archives Du Film Experimentales D'Avignon. Avignon,
  France; December
The American Avant Garde (Retrospective).  Amsterdam,
  Netherlands; September.
International Audio-Visual Festival.  Paris, France; January.
The American Experimental Film.  Leuven, Belgium; March
1989 International Experimental Film Festival.  Toronto, Canada; June U.S.F. Faculty Show.  Tampa, Florida; September
Page 2            Sandra L. Davis
(Selected Group Shows and Two-Person Shows continued)
1988 Film Arts Festival.  San Francisco, CA; November.
Filmmaker's Cooperative.  London, England; May.
Scratch Cinema.  Paris, France; May.
Film Alliance.  Miami, Florida; March.
Film Forum.  Los Angeles, CA; February.
1987 Collective for Living Cinema.  New York, NY; October.
Cinemateque.  San Francisco, CA;  April and June.
1986 Miami Waves Experimental Media Festival.  Miami, Florida; Nov.
Experimental Film Festival.  Chicago, IL; November.
  Women and Filmmaking, California Institute of the Arts; Nov.
Film Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; June.
Denver Center Cinema.  Denver, CO; April
1984 Film Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; December.
Festival of New Experimental Cinema, (invited participant); Nov.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago; April.
1982 Monitor Source.  San Francisco, CA; December.
"Women Choose Women", SFAI International Film Festival Benefit.
  San Francisco, CA; January.
Pacific Film Archives.  Berkeley, CA; May.
1981 The Exchange Show:  San Francisco - Berlin, West Germany; Sept.
Tour representing Berlin Festival.  London, Paris, Amsterdam
  Showcases; June.
London Filmmaker's Cooperative.  London, England; June.
Ann Arbor Film Festival.  Ann Arbor, Michigan; March.
SFAI International Film Festival. San Francisco, CA; March
Anthology Film Archives.  New York, NY; February.
Pacific Film Archives.  Berkeley, CA; January.
1980 Cinemateque.  San Francisco, CA; December.
Rocky Mountain Film Center.  Boulder, CO; November.
1980      Pasadena Film Forum.  Pasadena, CA; November.
     Southwest Alternative Media Project.  El Paso, TX; November.
Oasis.  Los Angeles, CA; March.
1979 Cinemateque.  San Francisco, CA; September.
San Francisco Art Institute, "New Filmmakers".
San Francisco, CA; May.
Film Center.  Cardiff, Wales; February.
Cinemateque.  Paris, France; February.
Oval House.  London, England; January.
Weekend T.V., "Independent Filmmaking".  London, England; Jan.
London Filmmaker's Cooperative.  London, England; January.
Page 3      Sandra L. Davis
(Selected Group Shows and Two-Person Shows continued)
1978 Chicago Filmmakers.  Chicago, IL; December.
London Filmmakers Cooperative.  London, England; November.
Arts Council of Britain.  London, England; October.
San Francisco Art Institute, "New Filmmakers".
San Francisco, CA; May.
Cinemateque.  San Francisco, CA; January
SANDRA DAVIS         Works List 
All That Remains   Series 2011-2012
Digital pigment and chromogenic prints, from 16mm film frame scans and digital print originals
LEONARDO SOUND MAN  chromogenic print
      24”x13.5”  2011
LEONARDOMAN DECAP   giclee print
      17:x13” 2011
BLAKEMAN DOUBLE      chromogenic print
       31.5”x17”      2012
EMBRYO GLASS FLYMAN       giclee print
      24”x12.5”  2012
HAND EGG HEART    chromoenic print
     18.5”x11.5” 2012
BREAST ECHO BRAIN   giclee print
     23.5”x13.5     2011
ANGEL HEART    giclee print
     19”x12”       2012