Joe Pintz’s biographical introduction, found on the assistant professor’s art department webpage, describes his functional and sculptural ceramic work as the means by which he “explores the role that domestic objects play in fulfilling our physical and emotional needs.” Earthenware garden tools hung in pairs, a “ricer” and "pulper" seemingly ready for cooking, riveted “metal” scoops set to measure dry goods, rustic bowls in muted greens and blues; all glow with a warm patina unique to their muddy medium, an earthen radiance that communicates both an air of nostalgia and a brooding sense of dislocation and displacement. Duchamp famously remarked that his “readymades” represented “a point of indifference” in his art. Pintz, a Teach for America veteran whose academic background includes anthropology and urban studies, strives for exactly the opposite effect. These fond representations, icons of his Midwestern heritage, are works with “dense meaning transferred into clay,” objects that, as he put it in a recent interview, speak volumes about “how material culture functions within a society.”

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