[Montclair, NJ]: Caliban Press, 1989. Limited Edition. Hardcover. This is an out-of-series copy (not numbered) signed by both Berrigan and Ely on the colophon at the time of publication. It has been in Ely’s possession, in unbound sheets, until being offered here. In 1989, Mark McMurray wrote to Berrigan, who he knew slightly and admired greatly, asking the priest if he had any manuscripts that he might like to have published by McMurray’s Caliban Press. As McMurray recalled recently, Berrigan was very kind, invited him to meet in the city, and gave him a handful of manuscripts to read. Lost & Found was the story that really resonated. McMurray showed it to Ely, with whom he was studying bookbinding. Ely, whose art frequently incorporates maps of non-physical locations, was intrigued by the story and agreed to illustrate it for the Caliban Press limited edition. Lost & Found was originally issued by Caliban Press in an edition of 125 numbered copies with 3 full page and two smaller relief block illustrations by Ely, printed and hand-colored by Mark McMurray, and bound by McMurray with silk-backed boards illustrated on the upper board with the Ely frontispiece print.
In the summer of 2015, after a conversation about altered books, Ely had the idea of “altering” a copy of Lost & Found. Thus, twenty-seven years after the initial printing, Ely completed a unique, lavishly illustrated copy of the book, significantly altered from the original publication. Unlike the case with many “altered books,” these illustrations are not a violation of the artist’s original intent. Rather, this copy, both book and binding, is an elaboration of Ely’s work as the original illustrator.
As is typical in his life full of strange coincidences, Ely finished binding this very special copy of Lost & Found the day before Berrigan died (d. April 30, 2016).
Timothy C. Ely is a renowned and enigmatic figure in the book world. His one-of-a-kind manuscript books combine elaborate and often mysterious painted and drawn folios contained within finely crafted bindings, most of which are original designs or variations on traditional binding techniques. Each book carries layers of both materials and meaning. Each drawing and element elicit revelations, personal to each viewer.
“For the last forty years, his books and other works have sprung from a central core of concepts, owing to a fascination with obscure or seemingly incomprehensible forms inspired by science and other projections from the history of the human imagination. This spectrum of inspiration includes such things as fractured and whole grids, cypher systems, landforms and landscapes as viewed from a satellite, and the archeological overlay of some of these sites, especially those containing libraries. Originally, the atlas format provided a platform for the rendering of his complex maps, which gradually gave way to an expanded psychological viewpoint of a larger universal scheme.
Much of Ely’s work is richly annotated with his own glyphs he calls “cribriform.” While they are made up of a finite set of marks, they take on many different “meanings” depending on the tool with which they are drawn. He has written and spoken often about the roots and evolution of these drawings. Gestural in their formation, these trailings evoke a sense of language and meaningful discourse. Though suggestive, they never yield up a firm translation.” [A. Schoolman]. Fine in Fine Archival Box. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Planetary Collage Standard binding structure, leather over wood boards, rivets, pigments, resin, gold, and wax; Spanish handmade paper with relief block illustrations (as issued) with extensive over painting and embellishment; one extra, unique fold-out drawing in the rear; endpapers are Ely standard graph paper he printed in 1987. Housed in a felt-lined, handmade paste paper and custom cloth covered dropback box by the artist. 8vo. np. Illus. (color plates). Bound by Timothy Ely in 2016. Signed [by both author and illustrator] limited edition. Item #9755