Stephen Friedman Gallery will hold a solo exhibition of new, large-scale works by American artist Channing Hansen. Hansen’s vibrant paintings comprise abstract, hand-knitted constructions stretched over wooden frames. Developing his longstanding interest in the crossover between craft, art, science and technology, this new body of textiles is the most technically complex the artist has made to date.
‘I am interested in the idea that humans themselves embody an infinite number of potential algorithms.’ – Channing Hansen
The exhibition takes the late work of Alan Turing, WWII code breaker and father of computer science, as its inspiration. Turing’s theory of ‘morphogenesis’ hypothesised how patterns and structures such as stripes, spots and spirals can form spontaneously in nature through genetic abnormalities. Inspired by Turing’s biological principle, the design of Hansen’s paintings in the exhibition are produced by a unique computer algorithm that can generate potentially infinite combinations of colour, fibre and knit. The artist is unaware of how the finished work will look until it is complete as he relies purely on the algorithm to prompt changes in form.
‘M: Index’ (2018), a composite work comprising 23 individually-stretched paintings, symbolically represents the number of chromosomes that make up the structure of human DNA. As the title suggests, this work performs an indexical function, representing the different variables used to inform the creation of each of the paintings in the exhibition. While the composition emphasises the formulaic way in which the works were conceived, it also accentuates the stark differences in form, texture and colour that distinguishes each painting.
The type of wool used in Hansen’s work highlights the artist’s interest in how natural forms of diversity are manipulated by man. Collaborating with a sheep geneticist, Hansen uses wool from sheep that have been selectively bred to achieve variation in the colour of their fleeces.
16 November – 21 December
Stephen Friedman Gallery 25-28 Old Burlington St, Mayfair, London W1S 3AN