Evan McGraw - Aimee Mann
Saturday, October 1st from 6 to 10 PM
Dem Passwords is pleased to present Aimee Mann, the first solo showing of artworks by Evan McGraw.
McGraw crafts handwritten works on paper that cross the prescribed boundaries of the Western calligraphy tradition. With a well-tuned alphabet influenced by italic and gothic hands and rendered with a monastic devotion across 1,400+ sheets of 8.5" x 11" parchment since 2013, McGraw's practice harmonizes randomness and emotional energy with technical mastery in a diaristic process.
Culled from his output over the last 10 months, Aimee Mann presents an expressive calligraphy system that uses variations in spacing between and within letters along with signature embellishments to encrypt McGraw's meditative subjects. Letters, words, phrases and proper names combine into a baroque labyrinth of stems, loops and ligatures which hide a personal journey. The title referring to the eight months McGraw spent scribing the musician's lyrics -- an evolution that followed a year of scribing the calendar date -- Aimee Mann also points to the musical quality of the work; his spacing policy creating resonant waves of text synced with flourishes that connect McGraw's spiritual dimension to the programmatic.
Installed here, the works can read like sentence fragments. "Constant," "Craving," "Shoveling it in." "Excuses", "Blown," "Down the Drain." McGraw's missives feel intimate despite what little we know of the backstories.
The magic of Aimee Mann springs from the tension between the formal constraints of McGraw's system and his instinct toward abstraction -- between his focused, conscious mind and an almost automatic performance. McGraw empties the text of its meaning as he drills down the page, adding layers of guilloche, processing emotions and information into objects of contemplation. Romantic and mathematical, McGraw's work is a log of inputs and external states and an expression of his inner most self.
Evan McGraw, born in 1990 and a graduate of Cooper Union, lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.