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Like most paintings, Channing Hansen's stretcher bars support planes of color and form but his are made in the most idiosyncratic and unconventional manner. They are knitted. His exceptional first show at Marc Selwyn Fine Art features large-scale abstractions knitted in earthy, moody tones with twisted, knotty surfaces. It is on view through April 9.

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Channing Hansen, "K2:MR:07," 2015
Baby camel down, Bluefaced Leicester, Coopworth, Corriedale, hybrid Border Leicester/California Variegated Mutant/Rabouillet/Finnsheep (Snickers), Karakul, Lionhead (Derek & Trixie), Merino, Norwegian, Qiviut, Romeldale (Latham), Swalesdale, and Targhee fibers; bamboo; bamboo carbon fiber; holographic polymers; Tussah sild; redwood
72 x 101 inches

LA native Hansen graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997 and worked in performance, video and computer software for a number of years. About a decade ago, he took up knitting as a calming activity. With some background devising computer software and a parallel interest in science, he created computer algorithms that determine knitted patterns goings far beyond purl one, knit one, calling them "Quantum Paintings."

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Channing Hansen, "K2:AB:06," 2015
Bluefaced Leicester, California Variegated Mutant (Kaydra), California Variegated Mutant (Nyssa), Corriedale, Corriedale (Lamb Yellow J8047), Karakul, Lionhead (Derek & Trixie), Merino (Chester), mohair, Romney (McKenzie), Swalesdale, and Targhee fibers; bamboo; bamboo carbon fiber; holographic polymers; silk noils; viscose; wild silk; redwood
74 x 94 inches

As he investigated the history of working with yarn, he learned the ways in which it is spun from the wool of sheep, how it is cleaned and dyed, and employed such knowledge as he increasingly embraced knitting as the medium and method of his art. By dying and spinning, he was able to create yarns with his own unique colors and textures. He specifies his algorithms as titles along with a lengthy list of his materials: K2:KW:09, (2015) Alpaca, California Variegated Mutant (Kaydra), California Variegated Mutant (Millie), hybrid Border Leicester/California Variegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Finnsheep (Snickers), mohair, Norwegian, Romney (Nashua), and Swalesdale fibers; bamboo; bamboo carbon fiber; holographic polymers; Tussah silk, redwood.

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Channing Hansen, "K2:KW:09," 2015
Alpace, Norwegian, California Variegated Mutant (Kaydra), California Variegated Mutant (Millie), hybrid Border Leciester/California Variegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Finnsheep (Snickers), mohair, Romney (Nashua), and Swalesdale fibers; bamboo; bamboo carbon fiber; holographic polymers; Tussah silk, redwood
36 1/2 x 51 inches

That description refers to wools from specific sheep. The California Variegated Mutant is a derivative of an American fine wool sheep called Romeldale. Hansen includes the name of the actual sheep, in this case Kaydra, in parenthesis. These are rare black sheep raised in the United States and if Hansen likes a particular fleece, he returns to the farm each year to get more of the same.

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Channing Hansen, "K2:AR:03," 2015
Alpaca, Bluefaced Leicester, California Variegated Mutant (Nyssa), Coopworth, Corriedale (Lamb Yellow J8047), hybrid California Variegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Cotswold/Border Leicester (Cessna), Icelandic, Norwegian, mohair, Merino, Romeldale (Latham), Romney (McKenzie), Scottish Blackface, Targhee, and Qiviut fibers; bamboo carbon fiber; Bombyx silk; holographic polymers; silk noils; Tussah silk; redwood
84 x 93 inches

Outspokenly influenced by feminist art of the 1970's, (some of which is now on view in Hauser Wirth & Schimmel's Revolution in the Making) his knitted paintings were a critical highlight of the Hammer's Made in LA biennial in 2014. However, the work in this show is of marked contrast to the rainbow-hued, spidery and erotically suggestive knitting that prevailed there.

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Channing Hansen, "K2:KM:02," 2015
Romeldale (Latham), California Variegated Mutant (Nyssa), California Variegated Mutant (Kaydra), mixed Border Leicester California Cariegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Finnsheep (Snickers), Romney (McKenzie), Romney (Nashua) fibers; bamboo carbon fiber, holographic polymers, redwood
59 x 59 inches

If anything, his current work feels more sure of itself. It is less about the novelty of its medium and more about the expressive capabilities. After his visit to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, where he first saw Kasimir Malevich's 1915 painting Black Square, he was struck by the color and execution of the original executed by the Suprematist Russian artist and the ways it is altered by the process of reproduction. Using computer technology, he sampled the CMYK printing process of the blackest part of this painting as it had been represented in print. He used that to create the algorithm that serves as the score for each of his own knitted paintings. The title of each work in this series begins K2, which is another way of saying black squared.

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Channing Hansen, "K2:FS:08," 2015
Alpaca, Bluefaced Leciester, California Variegated Mutant (Nyssa), Corriedale, Karakul, hybrid Border Leicester/California Variegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Finnsheep (Snickers), hybrid California Variegated Mutant/Rambouillet/Cotswold/Border Leciester (Cessna), Merino, Norwegian, Romeldale (Latham), and Romney (Nashua) fibers; bamboo; bamboo carbon fiber; holographic polymers; wild silk; redwood
61 x 51 inches

Though pneumbral and shadowy, they are not purely black. Despite their technological origins, the knitted surfaces vary from being solid as a sock to an open network of yarn that reveals the grid of wooden stretcher bars supporting it. Tones of mahogany, charcoal, heather or ivory emerge in subtle variations all the more amazing by the fact that they are the result of random programming, not the artist's personal taste. Hansen has found a fascinating method of melding humble handicraft with 21st-century IOS thinking. They are novel not for the sake of novelty but as a way of delving deeper into assumptions of every sort surrounding painting, craft and technology.

All photos courtesy of the artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art. Photography by Jeff McLane.

Producers:
Benjamin Gottlieb

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