Channing Hansen, Frameshift
In contrast to the restrained and intellectual work of Rosemarie Trockel at the Stephen Friedman Gallery just around the corner, are some of Channing Hansen’s knitted pieces, two knitting exhibitions in London’s private art world.
Hansen is from Los Angeles and I haven’t seen his work in the UK before. The pieces, which have titles such as Frameshift, Software and Heavy Weather, are hand-knitted and then pulled over stretchers as if they were paintings. Although they look, well, intuitive, they are apparently planned through algorithms based on his own DNA.
In the gallery blurb Hansen quotes Robert Irwin: “To be an artist is not a matter of making paintings of objects at all. What we are really dealing with is our state of consciousness and the shape of our perceptions.”
He uses rare breed wool raised on a farm in Idaho that he spins and dyes himself. Tellingly, the gallery attendant told me Hansen is hyperactive and uses knitting to keep his hands and mind busy. Busy, busy.
You can wait for ages for a knitted art show, then two come along at once, and how different they are from each other, while geographically close so they can be seen at the same time.
Rosemarie Trockel’s early Knitted works are on show at Skarstedt Gallery in swanky St James (if you can’t find it, the doorman at the Ritz is very helpful). A contemporary conceptual artist Trockel can be relied upon to have an interesting take on what is usually considered women’s domestic work, by having her designs knitted on a machine by a technician. “I wanted to know what causes a given kind of work to be regarded by women as embarrassing, both in the past and in the present: whether this has to do with the way the material is handled of whether it really lies in the material itself.” (Kunstforum International, Feb ’88).
Have we moved on from this now, or are we more open to considering those ideas nearly twenty years down the line? The works feel sterile and flat, mimicking as they do the abstract canvases of masculine painters prevalent at the time that Trockel was poking fun at with ‘Who will be in in ’99’. The baby clinging to the giant ball of wool is another matter, made later and larger than the other works, it takes up a whole room to itself. Oddly realistic, the newborn is peacefully asleep but in danger of slipping off and being crushed by a rolling ball of brown fluff and made me very anxious — another comment on women’s work, perhaps.
(next time, Channing Hansen)
Join us for our Knitting know-how summer term at New Brewery Arts and brush up on your knitting skills. We’ll be meeting on Wednesday afternoons from 26 April to 24 May to look at how to make your knitting more professional. Ever wanted to know which increase or decrease to use where, or how to make your edges neater? All these questions answered and more.
Find out more and Book here
“Don’t let your awkwardness worry you; or the sliding about of needles, you are their boss and they know it.” (Elizabeth Zimmerman, Knitter’s Almanac)
I’ve been getting ready for a new series of workshops at New Brewery Arts in February. The classes will be based on the throw that I designed for The Art of Knitting, using increases and decreases to make squares, except this time we’ll be using different colours and yarn, making it in Rowan Tweed’s muted palette. We’ll look at diagonals, entrelac and short-rows, all those things that can put you off before you even start. This course will make you more confident and in charge of your needles. I’m really looking forward to meeting a new group of knitters.
There’s been a change of dates, workshops now start on Wed Feb 22 and are every week until Wed Mar 22, 2017. That gives people more time to sign up, yay!
Tutor: Katy Bevan (that’s me)
Date & Time: Wednesday afternoons, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Venue: Albright Studio, New Brewery Arts
Kate Jenkins, Ham and Mustard
Max Alexander, Merveille du Jour
Meet the Artists is a new series for The Knitter about knitters who venture beyond the sweater. So far I’ve written about Zandra Rhodes, Freddie Robins, Kate Jenkins in Issue 102. Max Alexander and Celia Pym are coming up, with more artists in knit to follow.