The Black Chamber.
Portland, OR: Timothy Ely, 1984. Unique. Hardcover. This work, from early in Ely's career, has been in his ex-wife's private collection until now. Printed and mss elements, nearly all in tones of black (the only color is a clot of red over the title on the title page). Overall, a more organic feel than much of his later work.
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]. Near Fine. Minimal shelf/edge wear, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Quarterbound, black leather spine, exposed black cords, black pigment and resin covered board (highly textured); painted pastedowns, heavy black paper free endpages. to. np. Illus. (b/w plates, colored plate). Signed and dated by the artist. Item #9855