Sep 27th 2015

Dominique Haller, Christopher Ottinger, & Andy Kincaid: Naturally, Curious

@ ACRE Projects

1345 W 19th St Chicago, IL

Opening Sunday, September 27th, from 4PM - 8PM

On view through Thursday, October 18th

Naturally, Curious is a three-person show featuring artists Dominique Haller, Christopher Ottinger, and Andy Kincaid curated by Cecilia L. Vargas. The works investigate internal and external nature, and our relationship to nature. The title plays off of ideas of our natural curiosity, the curiosity of nature (including the one depicted in the 15th cryptic century book, the Voynich Manuscript), as well as critical questions about the way we relate to nature.

Dominique Haller’s work focuses on the tension between nature and culture through a feminist lens by critically looking at the art historical reception of work by female artists that have addressed motherhood and domestic issues. It references the division between the artificial/manufactured and the natural/organic by vacillating between high and low craft and materials; and between labor traditionally understood as male dominated (construction materials: plastic sheeting, blue painters tape), and labor understood as female dominated (sewn, mended, and crocheted elements). Her work thus addresses the collision between cultural ideas of motherhood, biological conditions of motherhood, and art historical assumptions about mothering artists.

Christopher Ottinger’s series of work entitled From the Workshop of Master Tepenec plays off of the cryptic Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century book that has illustrations of unknown plant specimens and text that corresponds to no known languages. The series From the Workshop of Master Tepenec delivers us into a curious botanical landscape, with an alchemist vibe, inspired by a fictionalized narrative of Jakub Hořčický of Tepenec (the only name in the Voynich Manuscript) using museological-like cabinet of curiosities type strategies through sculpture, the diorama, and cyanotypes a la Anna Atkins.

Andy Kincaid’s work has been focused on nature and our relationship to it in various capacities. Recently, he has been investigating nature through elemental studies, breaking nature down to its building blocks. Kincaid uses strategies such as found and ready-made objects, video, photoshopped images, sculpture and installation to address ideas of human nature, natural curiosity, artificial/natural and control over nature.

DOMINIQUE HALLER was born and raised in Switzerland. Her interest in cultural expression led her to study cultural anthropology, sociology, and German literature at the University of Basel, where he graduated in 2007 with an MA. After working for several years as a documentary filmmaker in Europe and the United States, she emigrated to the United States in 2009 and studied studio art at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she earned her MFA in 2014. In the past few years, her work has focused on the material, social, and linguistic conditions of motherhood and the domestic space.

More information about Dominique Haller can be found at

CHRISTOPHER OTTINGER is a Chicago based artist and educator. He earned his MFA in Studio Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and his BA at Columbia College Chicago in Film/Video Directing. Ottinger uses various media technologies to envision new histories and alternative uses for technical objects, employing an “object oriented” approach to Media Archaeology. His art has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, including the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, The Museum London in Ontario, Canada, and recent solo exhibitions at the Chicago Artists Coalition and Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago. Ottinger is the recipient of the 2014 Visiting Artist Fellowship at the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Critical Theory + Creative Research Program. He is currently an instructor in the department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

More information about Christopher Ottinger can be found at

ANDY KINCAID currently lives and works in Jackson Hole, WY, where he co-founded the artist-run gallery In The Pines. Kincaid’s past work includes exhibitions at ACRE Projects, Chicago, Altered Esthetics and Susan Hensel Gallery, Minneapolis, The Neville Museum, Green Bay, The National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, and solo exhibitions at the Center for the Arts, Jackson WY, and Trout Museum of Art, Appleton WI, as well as permanent public sculptures in Wisconsin and Kansas. Kincaid received his B.A. in Studio Art from Lawrence University, concentrating in Sculpture and Photography, Physics, and Art History.

More information about Andy Kincaid can be found at

CECILIA LEONORA VARGAS is a contemporary art curator and writer. She’s a Curatorial Fellow with ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), and the Art Coordinator at Waubonsee Community College. Vargas has curated exhibitions at various venues in Chicago and at Dominican University (River Forest, IL), and Los Caminos (St. Louis, MO). She received a dual MA in Art History, Theory and Criticism, as well as in Arts Administration and Policy from SAIC. She also holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University.

More information about Cecilia Leonora Vargas can be found at

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