PAINTING WITH WOOLby Niamh McCooey
Following Channing Hansen's debut exhibition with London's Stephen Friedman gallery last summer (recently featured on the Selvedge blog), the gallery have just recently announced that going forward, the esteemed American textile artist will officially be represented by the gallery.
As an artist, Channing is a polymath. He simultaneously conveys an appreciation of craft and staggering wonder at advances in technology in his rare and intense approach to contemporary art. He is known for his woollen paintings; hand-knitted constructions stretched on bare wooden frames, and his practice quickly garnered the attention of the art world elite after he picked up knitting almost a decade ago in an attempt to preoccupy his restless mind. Channing has been making paintings this way ever since.
He is meticulously involved in every step of the process from start to finish. He dyes and spins the fibre himself using silk, alpaca, mohair, and wool, but the improvisatory appearance of his work is actually predetermined by a decision-making computer algorithm. Hansen follows these 'instructions' for changes in colour, fibre and type of knit, without knowing what the work will look like once finished. In this way, according to his new representative gallery, his paintings remain portals of possibility.