Channing Hansen (B. 1972)

Channing Hansen (B. 1972)

Channing Hansen was born in 1972 in Los Angeles, USA, where he continues to live and work. Hansen’s knitting is informed by the work of scientists who have tackled the problems of knottiness (P.G. Tait), knot curvature and higher dimensional manifolds (John Willard Milnor), and volume of curves (Maryam Mirzakhani), all the way to loop quantum gravity. His work can be seen as trying to represent a Grand Unified Theory that reconciles matter, energy, space, and time.

His knitted works tread the line between painting and sculpture with their web-like construction occasionally revealing the stretcher behind. Their relationship to craft may initially seem to be at odds with the scientific concepts informing the algorithm. However, bringing these two disciplines into dialogue allows Hansen to explore the tension between chaos and order, as the artist’s hand introduces human variability within an otherwise programmatic composition. This is evident in the forms his textiles evoke, which might resemble tendrils of DNA, crystalline structures, or biomorphic shapes.

The artist’s process is intricate and labour-intensive—beginning with the sheering, processing and dyeing of raw fleece, followed by spinning that fleece into yarn, and only then starting the work that will transform these materials into the art we identify as a Channing Hansen. It is apparent from the outset that these knit pieces are not the product of idle hands. The abstract designs are generated by computer algorithms, resulting in complex webs that can span a wall or fill an entire room. The immersive environment he creates links together technology and craft, the cybernetic and homemade, to produce wonderfully intricate, geometric enigmas in wool.

Beyond the mathematical foundations in his work, Hansen grounds his pieces in environmental causes. He sources the wool for his textiles from conservation sheep breeds to draw attention to detrimental monoculture breeding. Uniting an ecologically conscious stance with meticulous knitting, he underscores our interconnected place in the universe— be it to the earth itself, a generated world that exists through computers, or the cosmos beyond—and asks people not only to consider what mark they should leave behind, but also their part in the very fabric of the universe.

Notable solo exhibitions include I, Algorithm (2021), Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, USA; Entanglements (2019), Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverley Hills, USA; Pattern Recognition (2019), Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong; Morphogenesis (2018), Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Self Portraits (2017), CRG Gallery, New York, USA; and K2 (2016), Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills, USA. The artist’s work is in public collections including The Ahmanson Foundation, Los Angeles, USA; The Art Institute of Chicago, USA; The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, Los Angeles, USA; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.