by Timothy C. Ely
“I am enamored with measure. Geometry – practical, mythological, arcane, sacred, and obtuse – is a tool of tremendous resource. I am not an astronomer and do not comprehend beyond a fundamental level the measurements taken and needed to conclude a lovely truth or fact of distance. A color shift in the spectrum reveals the speed of an object in space, or a refraction of light bent around a cosmic solid allows a planet to be seen. In my lifetime we have gone from a system of nine planets to an extended space of other systems, with hundreds now cataloged. So the observatory is a visual laboratory, like a shaman’s nest or artist’s studio, where forays into the imaginal mind – a metaphysical realm – are made real by the measurements of the lens. This book honors such a location and, as a parallel aim, evokes and extends the range of the inner eye – the eye as generator of reality. Witness the way we have concretized the illusion of the horizon or “looked’’ with our mind’s eye at memory and have created from that a thing we call time. Generations of people, “seeing’’ their memories, have created a substance called history. This pervasive belief about this dimension of mind has a hold over us. We see, we filter, and we name what is a purely personal observation, for we are all ‘observatories.’”
T. C. Ely
Observatory is a one-of-a-kind manuscript book completed in 2008. It was conceived, painted, drawn, and bound (in the drum leaf style) by Timothy Ely at his studio in Colfax, WA. The book is housed in a custom made hand-painted box.