Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard, Cambridge

Jenny Harris , Artforum , December 3, 2022

B. Ingrid Olson’s concurrent exhibitions, “History Mother” and “Little Sister,” draw us into a consideration of the intersecting and meandering temporalities of fashioning a life and making art. Olson’s works derive their power from being insistently liminal, operating somewhere between bodies, mediums, and moments in time. It is precisely this slipperiness that yields subtle yet incisive feminist critique.


Olson introduces these preoccupations in Proto Coda, Index, 2016–22, a sculptural installation and mini retrospective of sorts. Three perpendicularly conjoined walls function as supports for replicas of every sculptural relief Olson has made over the past six years. The works index body parts that have been geometrically abstracted and hung at the height of either the corresponding body part of their installer or that of the artist herself. The work alludes to specific anatomies and distinct moments in time, but makes them difficult to perceive precisely; clues about their gender, for example, are conspicuously absent. While its sculptural traces evoke the past, its fiberboard material and iterative logic suggest open-endedness—a past that can be endlessly revisited, supplemented, and altered. 


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