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David Abel—Approaches to His Site:
David Abel. Written for the brochure to accompany Timothy Ely's first Granary Books exhibit "Memo 7 & Other Works." 30 November 1989-12 January, 1990.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary gives the etymology of the verb "read" as follows: ME reden to advise, interpret, read, from OE raedan; akin to OHG ratan to advise, Gk arariskein to fit—more at "arm."

I wish for my books to alter or adjust the perceptions of their observers.

And for "arm": ME, fr OE earm; akin to L armus shoulder, Gk harmos joint, L arma weapons, ars skill, Gk arariskein to fit.

I am attracted to the scale of a book that fits from my elbow to the point where my fingers begin.

The finger points to something seen; vision, an intimate vision, begins by following that instinctive gesture.

The primary direction for my work is the whole (holistic) Book.

Concerned equally with the drawn, written, and painted pages as with the structure and execution of their binding or package, Timothy Ely's books function simultaneously as works of visual art, carriers of information, and focusing devices for esoteric experience. In arriving at his images Ely draws on diverse traditions and disciplines: cartography, geometry (sacred and profane), archeology, mathematics, architecture, and astrology, to name but a few. Common to them all is the desire to take a measure of the apprehensible world, a measure whose means satisfy both tradition and experiment—a measure with predictive and corrective power.

Books are teachers. If a book is good, and one is patient, one can learn.

If machines are to be our grandchildren's teachers, I can think of none better than Timothy Ely's books, or "looking-at machines" as he has called them. It is pathetically easy to remember that time when books were good, and one was patient. And how, as a child, reading was a magical act, a way to go to another place,—a "time machine." Those "other places" remain near, familiar and yet tantalizingly difficult of access, just as the diagrams and invented scripts in Tim's books hover on the verge of resolution, drawing us.

My view of bookmaking is one of a fusion of many processes, and as an extension of the painted word.

Timothy Ely's painted word, or world, extends our seen, measured, imagined world into another place. As the poet Robert Kelly remarked, referring to the work of another imaginative geographer, Franz Kamin: "Once while I was listening to a lecture on dreams, I noticed that the girl in front of me had fallen asleep on her arms. Where was she then? It would be gentle to guess that he is busy exploring the geography of her elsewhere." Fortunately for us, Timothy likewise is busy.

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