Peter Pincus makes beautiful pots, and I doubt anyone would argue that fact after seeing Sleep In Spite of The Storm at Main Street Art Gallery, just outside Rochester, NY (August 12 — 29, 2014). The exhibition is a joyful experience of compositionally-precise work that shows acute attention to detail with rings of color almost exploding off the work and a strong design sense.
Above image: Work by Peter Pincus, courtesy of Main Street Art Gallery.
The work demands a slow pace to fully appreciate the nuances and refinement of each piece and their relationships between one pot and another. And they are more than “just pots.” Pincus’ “Urns” is a testament to Joseph Albers and his study of color theory. Clearly he makes smart pots. He has an exceptional design sense and flair for color. And the work has contexts beyond pure vesseldom.
However, it would be wrong to misread the exhibition as a conceptual representation of a home and the interaction that takes place there, which is its intent. The pieces desperately try to stand as figures, but are overshadowed by their domesticity. This is not to say that the exhibition isn’t successful and that the device of showing the work in vignettes with furniture isn’t charming. In fact it’s most effective but the conceptual thought is not deep, it is window dressing. Take the pots away from their environments and nothing is lost, they stand on their own.
Pincus needn’t try so hard for meaning; the excitement of the vivid colors, the play on traditional forms and powerful lines distance his work from the average potter, which propels pottery to a higher aesthetic level. In the end, the fact that they are functional forms trumps conceptual meaning. And that is a good thing.
Pincus graduated from Alfred University in 2005 and maintains a studio in Penfield, NY.
Jason Stockman is an Assistant Professor of Art, Defiance College.