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Gamma Cruxis - Ely, Timothy C - 1999. 
Colfax, WA: Timothy C. Ely, 1999-2015. Unique. Hardcover. New. Timothy C. Ely. Planetary Collage Standard binding, leather spine, Sitka spruce wood boards salvaged from a guitar top. Boards treated with a variety of materials and methods including tooling, engraving, dyeing, and sanding. Brown handmade endpapers. 9 full spreads, 2 single leaves.Book: 25cm x 17cm Deep drop back box includes a fixed cylindrical map suspended over a black rocky terrain visible through a rectangular port hole. The surround of the port hole is worked in heavy impasto of pulverized marble; the inside lid of the box is adorned with a watercolor.The sides of the box, inside and out, are fully illustrated in Ely?s inimitable style.The outer case is a muted red-orange book cloth.Box: 28.5cm x 19cm x 8.25cmGamma Cruxis could be considered an edition of sorts, although its past, present, and future are not at all straightforward. In the 1990s, Ely made a group of stencils through which he air-brushed color, creating the first layer of what could become up to seven potential books called Gamma Cruxis. The idea behind Gamma Cruxis is that by sharing the same base layer, the vastly different completed books intersect to expand on the meaning of a single book.In 1997, Ely completed a copy of Gamma Cruxis, now at Columbia University. That copy is accompanied by a prospectus indicating that it is ?one of a variable set of seven copies.? It is and it isn?t. Ely says,?I try to stretch the existing definitions of unique and multiple.? He retains the four remaining sets of the base layer of Gamma Cruxis. He has no plans to make those into books. As Ely said recently, ?There are other books to happen.?Ely began this copy of Gamma Cruxis in 1999, and worked on it sporadically. In 2015, inspired, Ely completed this book in a far more elaborate manner than the previous two copies (one is in a private collection). The architecture and elaborate decoration of the box are a hint, a preview of the book. The black, rocky terrain glimpsed through the port hole is just out of reach. Ely explores that dark, rugged, asteroid-like topography, accompanied by faint cribriform markings throughout Gamma Cruxis, and refines it. Geometric, astronomical, and mathematical images and ?text? riff on the asteroid idea. Several geometric shapes appear but eventually Ely?s more usual circular planetlike images give over to the hexagon. An entire page of fuzzy grey hexagons morphs into a cluster of small, colorful, very precisely drawn versions of the same shape. Turn the page and we see the hexagon deconstructed and, eventually, returned to outer space.
[Bookseller: Abby Schoolman Books]
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