B. Ingrid Olson (b. 1987 Denver, USA) currently lives and works in Chicago. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. Her work was recently featured in a two-person exhibition at the Renaissance Society (Chicago), and her past solo exhibitions include Simone Subal Gallery (New York), cura.basement (Rome), and Document Gallery (Chicago). In 2016, a book of her photographs was published by Hassla (New York).
Read our Q & A with Ingrid to get some insight into her practice.
Why do you find it valuable to create work and why specifically in photography?
I don't think I can answer the first half of that question, as it feels potentially too existential. For the matter of why I make photographs, I think it's likely similar to why any artist chooses a given medium: the inherent problems with the medium are exciting to me. I have never subscribed to the idea that photographs are objective. In the film I use, the way that I take the photographs and the way they are eventually produced, I try to push the potentially subjective vantage point that comes with taking a photograph.
How would you describe your work?
I work primarily photographically and sculpturally. In both bodies of work, there is a grappling with what it is to see and be seen; measuring the distances between the body and space around it; what it is to embody or adopt female and male qualities and also approaching the impossible: condensing whole spaces and bodies into a single plane, fitting into a frame.
There are quite a few different mediums you use in your series. How do you choose which medium will become the dominating factor in a series? How do these different mediums bring a cohesiveness to your work?
I have always been interested in the qualities or associations that certain materials have. I find that most of the materials I use can be correlated either to photographic processes, or to the body. Glass, plexiglass and aluminum, are all related to the camera (lens and camera body). The resin-based foam used in my sculptures has a very visceral, internal association for me, due to the color and the forms that are eventually carved out of it. I am often drawn to very artificial versions of the materials I use (plexiglas rather than glass, MDF rather than natural wood, etc). The materials I use and the way they are employed all veer towards describing the act of constructing the image, and also the resulting image being a construction.
What will you be working on during your residency at LATITUDE?
During my residency I will be scanning new rolls of film and doing some experimentation, test printing on new paper or materials.
Are there any books, movies, magazines or podcasts that you would recommend people to check out?
I've recently been reading books by Kate Zambreno. Her most recent book, Book of Mutter is phenomenal. It ties in references from literary history and some ties to Camera Lucida as she comes to terms with her mother's death. I read The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward, during the winter. I think it is a super important book that I highly recommend. Recently, I've been watching more TV rather than movies. I just finished I Love Dick, and loved it. It was easy to watch, but also complicated in the right ways. And, Handmaiden's Tale. It's eerie and frightening, but I've enjoyed it. As for podcasts, I love Modern Art Notes. Unfortunately, the host, Tyler Green regularly refers to the podcast using its unfortunately asinine acronym, but other than that, he is a really phenomenal, knowledgeable interviewer and approaches a broad swath of artists and curators.
Because you live in Chicago, IL, are there any places you would recommend for artists to go check out?
Ryerson and Burnham Library at the Art Institute of Chicago, Myopic Books, Pilsen Community Books, Seminary Co-Op Bookstore and Rossi's bar.