The Carpenter Center’s exhibition of work by B. Ingrid Olson will debut a suite of ambitious new commissions alongside select works from the past decade. Olson will create two simultaneous exhibitions: History Mother and Little Sister, each on a separate floor of the Carpenter Center. Each will feature site-specific installations for both indoor and outdoor spaces, informed by notions of doubling and mirroring, the functions of footnotes and architectural fixtures, and the work of figures like Madeline Gins and Eileen Gray.
In her feminist-informed practice, Olson uses photography, sculpture, drawing, and architectural installation to explore how her body and each viewer’s body relate to boundaries and space. With her photographic works, she turns to her own body as subject matter, and connects the ways architecture and the strictures of photography act upon it. Bent knees, limbs, hands, and feet press up against mirrors and photographic surfaces, confusing the sense of interior space and its points of contact between the figure and the picture plane.
Meanwhile, Olson uses a number of sculptural processes including carving (using a CNC machine that carves from sheets of wood or polyurethane foam, which she sands meticulously and paints by hand) and casting sculptural reliefs that evoke fragments of the human form in their measurements and assumed symmetries. Her carved and cast objects convey both intimacy and distance, as their physicality proposes a correspondence with the artist’s body or contact with a machine. The objects themselves, cast from molds or carved from a design, are distanced from an original or idea through a process of abstraction as details are softened and forms are reduced. The occasional addition of found objects adds sharply dissonant or suggestive elements to these processed forms.
The interrelationships and slippages between photographic and sculptural elements are central to Olson’s works that braid together architectural space and bodily experience. She writes, “The work that appears to be primarily sculptural comes out of a series of forms that are actually designed to create images by way of light and shadow cast over protruding edges and inward curving surfaces, creating a shadow-image of a minimal, absent body. Conversely, the photographic works are sculptural in their activity, structure, and presence, capturing the performative sculpting of my body and space with handmade props or found objects that work to camouflage or conflate the figure with its surroundings.”
At the heart of this network of procedures and media is Olson’s investment in a sense of bodily and object specificity, even as her blurred documentation and sculptural distancing poetically reconfigure hierarchies of knowledge and relationships.
The artist’s first monograph will be published to coincide with the exhibition and will feature newly commissioned texts and a selection of reprinted poetry, literary criticism, and architectural history.
B. Ingrid Olson
B. Ingrid Olson was born in 1987 in Denver, Colorado. She lives and works in Chicago. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Fingered Eyed, i8 Gallery, Reykjavík (2019); Forehead and Brain, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2018); Kiss the architect on the mouth, Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2018); Klein / Olson, The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2017). Select group exhibitions include Being: New Photography 2018, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2018); Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); and Lost Without Your Rhythm, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2018).
B. Ingrid Olson: History Mother Little Sister is presented in association with The Feminist Art Coalition (FAC).