Polytope Soap

Channing Hansen

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About the Artist

Born 1972 in Los Angeles

Channing Hansen is a polymath. He manages to simultaneously convey both a down-home appreciation of craft and staggering wonder at advances in technology, and he frequently melds the two in his videos, performances, sculptures, paintings and lectures at L.A.’s alternative art school-cum-residency, The Mountain School of Art.

In Hansen’s “paintings”—hand-knitted constructions stretched on wooden frames—loops of yarn give form to a painterly abstraction or assert its uncertainty. Hansen picked up knitting almost a decade ago to preoccupy his restless mind and has been making paintings that way since 2010.Hansen is meticulously involved in every step of the process from start to finish. He dyes and spins different fiber blends—silk, alpaca, mohair, and wool, sometimes with holographic polymer threads added in—and then knits the strands on wooden needles. The slightly improvisatory appearance of his work is actually predetermined by a decision-making computer algorithm. His ongoing series of Quantum Paintings (2012– ), knit with yarns in finer gauges and stretched to their limits, are netlike fields that reveal the supports underneath.

Hansen’s work delves into questions of math and physics, both reflected in the time and manner that he devotes to making his paintings. As Hansen has said, “craft solves questions; art asks them,” and in this sense, his paintings remain portals of possibility.


Channing Hansen