Christine Romanell is a dynamic artist whose vibrant wall sculptures and installations delve into fascinating patterns influenced by cosmology and physics.
With a foundation rooted in design reminiscent of Islamic pattering, Artwork Archive's Featured Artist Christine Romanell uses rotational symmetry to breathe life into dimensional forms—a space where the infinite tessellations of universal physics meet captivating patterns.
This connection blends the theoretical with the tangible.
Christine weaves a tapestry of self-similarity, meaning the same form at different scales, transforming repetition into something beautifully different.
These patterns aren't just decorative; they're a connection between material science, astrophysics, mathematics, and even medieval Islamic Architecture.
Her work unearths these connections, exploring the depths of time, material, and culture.
Through these patterns, she explores the notion that we could be tapping into something much larger than ourselves. As Carl Sagan once put it, "We are all made of star-stuff." The longing for connection to the origins of creation is the driving force behind Christine Romanell's work.
Artwork Archive had the chance to chat with Christine Romanell about her creative process, the role patterns play in her work, and how Artwork Archive makes her art career more manageable!
You can see more of her work on Discovery and learn more about her art practice below.
Christine Romanell, 'Portal 14-2', 14 x 14 x 4 in, 2023
Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process?
Creating color transitions is a satisfying part of my process.
My goal is to achieve harmonious color shifts and ensure that the transition feels not only smooth but also resonates with the geometric precision inherent in my work. The ratio of color values plays a pivotal role in guiding the eye through the inflation/deflation of the dimensional forms.
When I hit upon the perfect gradient progression, it feels like the first sip of champagne—a moment of bliss.
It combines precision and intuition, where the colors seamlessly flow, enhancing the overall composition.
It feels like what was once a static pile of layers, has sprung to life.
How do you incorporate the principles of astrophysics, mathematics, and medieval Islamic Architecture into your artwork?
Through occasional meditation, I've felt a connection to the vast universe.
Mathematical physicist and philosopher of science, Dr. Roger Penrose proposed a cosmological multiverse theory suggesting an endless series of Big Bangs, unfolding one universe after another without beginning or end.
The scaling rings in many of my pieces are influenced by the ideas of the cyclical multiverse theories and infinity, like ripples in a pond.
During my graduate studies, as I studied patterns and mark making, I came across the Penrose tiling—an intriguing, non-repetitive pattern developed in the 1970s by Dr. Penrose—achieved through the interlocking of two rhomb shapes with no gaps.
Very similar tilings have been found in medieval architecture in Iran. At the heart of these patterns is rotational symmetry, and its universal presence in nature in the form of fractals became apparent to me.
Recognizing that the circle stands as an embodiment of the infinite, led me into the exploration of circle rotation.
The circle is at the foundation of my work. I intersect two with equal radii, creating an almond shape at the center called the “Vesica Pisces." This form holds profound significance in sacred geometry, symbolizing the feminine aspect and the harmonious convergence of spiritual and physical realms.
The rotation of the Vesica Piscis, guided by the ratios derived from Penrose tiling, allows for the generation of a myriad of endless patterns. Each piece is inspired by these cosmological concepts and the delicate interplay of mathematical ratios with the cosmic and the sacred.
Christine Romanell, Portal 16-2 Star, 16 x 16 x 4 in, 2023
Can you discuss the role of pattern as an "imitation of the infinite” and its significance in your work?
Human existence doesn’t allow us to experience infinity since our lives are, well, finite!
In my work, patterns mirror the boundless nature of the universe and serve as a bridge between those two realms.
The collaborative aesthetic of geometry, rotational symmetry, and the golden ratio contribute to the creation of patterns that extend beyond the merely decorative.
These patterns (much like the cosmic phenomena they draw inspiration from) unfold in a continuum—embodying a sense of cyclical repetition and perpetual expansion. They serve as a visual language that articulates the interconnectedness of the cosmic and the sacred, echoing the symmetries found in both the macrocosm and the microcosm.
In essence, the patterns in my work become a conduit through which the viewer can experience something beyond their everyday existence.
What impact do you hope your work will have on those who view it?
My greatest aspiration as an artist is to channel a sense of connectedness into my work and to offer viewers a glimpse into another realm.
My hope is that, in the presence of my work, the viewer can discover a moment of respite from the challenges of daily life. I want my art to serve as a link for shared emotions, reminding us all that we are part of something greater than ourselves.
Christine Romanell, Portal 14-1, 14 x 14 x 3.5 in, 2023
What does success as an artist mean to you?
The obvious answer here would be industry recognition, inclusion in shows, and sales.
As anyone knows, being an artist is not an easy path. In my opinion, the hardest (but most rewarding) discipline of creating is to persevere in the absence of that reward.
Day in and out, the drive to keep making art regardless of positive feedback is crucial. So, for me, the greatest success is not giving in to despair, and hopefully becoming one of those old shuffling artists who are creating work until their last breath!
Could you provide some insights into your creative workspace?
I consider myself extremely fortunate in the last nine years to inhabit my studio space within a collective of over sixty-five artists at Manufacturers Village in East Orange, NJ.
The community is vitally supportive–allowing me to expand my skill set through their generosity–which in turn, has impacted the evolution of my art practice a great deal.
To cite a few examples: Tom Nussbaum (who has fabricated many public art projects in steel) provided his guidance when I experimented with working in that medium. For insight into painting materials, I have tapped Mona Brody, who taught classes in the subject at Pratt in NYC for many years. Recently, Ruth Borgenicht—ceramicist extraordinaire—has mentored me in creating a new series of clay works. The brand Liquitex runs an artist residency from an adjacent studio, providing access to a wealth of industry expertise.
Sometimes it literally “takes a village” to facilitate an artist’s growth.
Christine Romanell, 'Moon Portal 6', 12 x 12 x 3 in, 2023
Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory/manage your artwork?
My husband suggested I look into the platform after reading about it on social media. It’s been a continual struggle for me to manage my growing body of work, and accommodate inquiries from galleries, requests for PDF price lists, etc.
Integrating the organizational tools Artwork Archive provides into my daily practice immediately made a positive impact on my workflow—allowing me to manage the last two to three years of creative inventory in the span of hours!
Once in the system, I'm able to access the data easily whenever asked. I'm hooked!
How do you use Artwork Archive on a daily basis?
Artwork Archive's built-in features allow me to find a use for it in so many ways.
At any given time, I can easily copy and paste the required information when entering open calls from galleries or art shows. Since Artwork Archive communicates seamlessly with my website, I can input work to the system and it immediately pops up on my site—a true time saver.
The Scheduling feature is a great resource to utilize when my pieces may be placed in several different shows at once. Creating a link to a Private Room that I can share with galleries or collectors regarding available work is achievable within a few clicks.
Since my workflow relies so extensively on Artwork Archive, I would truly be lost without it!
What advice would you give an artist who's just starting out in their professional career?
Make a lot of art—good, bad, or otherwise.
It’s part of the process. Reach out to artists with more experience and wisdom, it can serve to educate you and further your practice.
Don’t take any feedback or criticism (negative OR positive, for that matter) personally. Someone’s opinion of your work is just that.
You know your own value. The next day, make even more art. Repeat over and over again...
Christine Romanell uses Artwork Archive to keep track of her open call submissions, track sales, expenses and locations, and showcase her work to clients.
You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business.