What's on Los Angeles | Index

by Jody Zellen

December 26, 2019

Channing Hansen
Marc Selwyn Fine Art
November 9, 2019 – January 4, 2020

Channing Hansen

Channing Hansen delights in bringing form to that which is amorphous. Yarn is his material and knitting is his process. Draped across stretcher bars are interlocking stitches in a wide range of soft colors and textures that ebb and flow across the picture becoming visual entanglements. Because they are knit, the pieces have an overall transparency and a weightless presence: the individual shapes and lines seem to float, hovering in front of the wall. Hansen speaks about the "source" for the seemingly abstract works and how his patterns and stitching sequences are often derived from specific algorithms related to scientific principles. He states, "This series [Entanglements] is based on growth patterns that structure fungus, neurons, and the distribution of galaxies." The pieces reference both nature and the cosmos — the microscopic and macroscopic — as Hansen weaves together wide ranging associations into unifying works.

There is a curious relationship between chaos and order in Hansen's pieces. In E2 (all works 2019) the apexes of two triangles meet in the center of the composition surrounded by a delicate array of tightly and loosely knit irregular shapes in a range of colors. The two triangles appear to be flat and three-dimensional at the same time, as each one is bisected by a thin blank space that functions as a line. E13 shows an open oval, just left and above center, revealing one of the four wooden cross sections that supports the work. Bordering the hole is a wavy line of neon green yarn that rises above the surface adding another layer of depth. Hansen knits in other protrusions to create a textured surface. Hansen's list of materials is always fascinating as he is quiet specific about the source of each element included. For E13, the materials are: California Variegated Mutant (Myth), California Variegated Mutant (Pierson), California Variegated Mutant (Rhea), Lionhead (Beatrix & Derek), Musk Ox, Romedale (January), Romeldale (Osage), Romeldale (Renault), and Romney (Korbin) fibers; Mawata silk and Tussah silk; holographic polymers, pearl dust, and photo-luminescent recycled polyester; banana cellulose, pineapple fiber, rose cellulose, and Sequoioideae Redwood.

As part of his process, Hansen prepares and dyes raw fleece, then spins the fiber into yarn and has begun to incorporates weaving and felting techniques, in addition to using a wide range of knitted stitches. While most of the works in his exhibition are large-scale "entanglements" of myriad types and colors of yarns and knitting applications, Hansen also includes a work entitled E-index. This 23 part piece, installed as an open grid in the back gallery is a more minimal and reductive presentation of his palette. Each twelve-inch square is limited to a single shade, type of stitch, or woven element. Together, they reference the more complex pieces. In E-index Hansen provides a key, revealing the base elements of his creations.

Hansen continues to expand his algorithmic processes and methodologies, integrating more complex elements into the mix which allows the compositions to become more precise and specific. That each work takes its point of departure from the natural world is essential. An observation — like the ways fungus grows on a cut-down eucalyptus tree is the inspiration for Hansen's research and exponential associations which in turn dictate the systems he uses when knitting. The works are visually engaging, vibrant, soft, solid and ephemeral simultaneously. This unusual combination of knitting, scientific principals and technology, combined under the auspices of abstraction is what makes Hansen's work so unusual and imaginative.