I still remember my first glimpse at a Timothy Ely manuscript. It looked like an ancient artifact, perfectly preserved, as if from a time capsule. The pages--hand-tooled and bound--were covered in enigmatic characters and illustrations, flowing throughout the book like a river. Images spilled over the margins and into one another, not chaotically but intelligent-design like, secret code meant to direct us to another place, perhaps even another time.

This is the work of Tim Ely, whose Line of Sight exhibition caps a series of smaller exhibitions this year at Gonzaga University and Coeur d'Alene's The Art Spirit Gallery.

At the Museum of Arts and Culture, you can expect the unfurling of the widest range of Ely ephemera to date. From the MAC's Ben Mitchell:

  1. Nearly 50 unique, hand-made manuscripts (he doesn’t call them “books”) covering over 35 years of his work, and, a 1957 work, his earliest unique book mad when he was a youngster. We have borrowed works from over two dozen public and private collections for the show, (but not any of those major names above because those intuitional loans are prohibitively expensive). 
  2. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an enormous graphic work—up to 20 feet wide and 10 feet tall—that Tim Ely will paint and draw directly onto the gallery’s south wall with a variety of projected forms, and with pigments, beautiful metal armatures, wire, and thread. This work, in essence an animated, open book, will exist only for the life of the exhibition. 
  3. A selection of the artist’s sketchbooks which he has been working in daily since he was an undergraduate student. 
  4. Over a dozen preliminary models for projects. 
  5. A selection of his book-making studio tools, many of which are antiques. 
  6. A selection of formative texts the artist has been referencing throughout his career, from as early as a mid-1950s pulp science fiction title that a teacher confiscated from him when he was a young student, to Tom Swift titles, comics, games, Isaac Asimov, Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, etc
  7. Our Solarium, adjacent to the gallery, will contain a graphic introduction to the extraordinary array of the subjects of his inquiry and art (see the attached Master List of Influences and Subjects), and photographs of the artist working in his studio. This component of the show will serve as a kind of map to Tim Ely’s unique mind.
Expect lots of media coverage, and a major fete at the opening, December 4.  And you'll want to see the site-specific installation Ely will be creating for the exhibition space. Truly a magnificent show.