“The rigor and precision of (studio) Paul O Robinson’s making and thinking, combined with the inventiveness of his explorations (including extensive use of X-ray technology), and the richness of his chosen analytical materials, have resulted in what might best be called a “forensic” art, construction and projection of inhabited space and its absences and presences. For Robinson, the room is the consummate interior, understood as at once a human shell, cocoon and nest – which is then unfolded and re-scaled as a collective spatial infrastructure. His work explores the subtle and yet powerful interplay between absence and presence, form and history, and surface and depth. Characteristics that consistently mark Robinson’s work include an intensity of attention to materials and anthropological detail in the artifacts (such as can be found in the artifacts of Austrian sculptor-architect Walter Pichler); the obsessive embedment of the human figure and the deep immersion in historical place (such as can be found in the works of the Italian architect-glass craftsman Carlo Scarpa); an acute and penetrating insight into the human condition, accompanied by a remarkable breadth of analogy (such as can be found in the works of the American architect-educator John Hejduk); and a penetrating interest in finding the productive ground shared by architecture and art, poetry and philosophy. In the end, Robinson’s work may be understood as a disquisition on time, on the durability of memory and the concomitant fragility of things.”
Robert McCarter is a practicing architect, author, and Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of The Space Within: Interior Experience as the Origin of Architecture (2016); Steven Holl (2015); Carlo Scarpa (2013); Understanding Architecture: A Primer on Architecture as Experience (2012, with Juhani Pallasmaa); Louis I. Kahn (2005), and sixteen other books.