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The Milk of Dreams

Since the 1960s, Robert Grosvenor has been developing a diverse artistic language, making use of architectural concepts and spatial dynamics in sculptures that evince both a solemn austerity and a winking mischief. Grosvenor is known for largely making his sculptures by hand from inexpensive materials, even when they appear industrially produced. The sensuousness of Grosvenor’s approach is compounded by an eccentricity that suggests the Space Age fantasies of his early years, as well as darker future. Untitled (1987–1988), a structure made from corrugated iron, appears as if a vestige from a potentially apocalyptic event. Formed by the sides of the trailer where Grosvenor stores tools in his studio, the sculpture contains no ceiling, floor, nor wheels, signalling architecture without providing its functionality. Untitled (2018), a steel industrial container whose interiors are painted in gold, houses a red scooter, which sits in isolation, at a remove from the viewer. Block of Water (2019), a rectangular pool made from concrete blocks, is filled with water, serving as protection but nonetheless ephemeral. While buoyed by an economy of form, Grosvenor’s artworks maintain a distinct strangeness, structured as they are at a peculiar cognitive remove from the forms and spaces they resemble. Not quite a pool nor shed nor garage, these structures turn the dial on the expectation of experiencing an apparently solid thing; they’re a trick to the mind.

Madeline Weisburg