Red Gate Reunion Series 2012: Adrienne Romine

I met Adrienne Romine at the Beijing Capital International Airport. We arrived on the same flight from the States. From the airport onward we were next to inseparable for our month in Beijing. Based on my experience last June, in a few words I would describe Adrienne’s paintings as realistic renditions of the everyday twisted into a subtly surreal landscape (click here to view these paintings). Adrienne arrived in Beijing with a pile of 20+ sheets of pre-gessoed paper, ready to rock our one month in residency (which she did).

Adrienne Romine, Untitled, Acrylic, 24 x 36 in.

One year later, when I emailed Adrienne about the Reunion Series, she responded quickly and shared that her work had changed course. Adrienne, my talented painter friend, is shifting gears and moving into furniture making. After residency Adrienne became part of the Anthropologie display team. There she started to work with wood on a regular basis and realized how much she enjoys it.

Adrienne’s made her first furniture piece while pursuing her BFA at University of Central Florida. The Staircase/Bookshelf was in the 2011 Readymade 100 contest and made it to the top 25. Adrienne calls it “a wonderful thing born out of necessity.” Recently, at Anthropologie, Adrienne built an entire bed and headboard with a side table.

Adrienne Romine, Entry in 2011 Readymade 100

Adrienne describes the process of making a work from wood as, “something that is frustrating and also really exciting [because the] wood is in constant motion, it’s constantly expanding and contracting.” When considering a design, the design can be as meticulous as possible but, “…[wood] is completely organic and is going to change on you. It’s that little margin of nature that can throw off your whole project. It’s an added challenge…that understanding comes with time.”

Adrienne has a woodshop at home waiting for her in her brother’s backyard. The tools she purchased the fill the shop she found serendipitously on Craigslist. Their previous owner recently passed away on his  65th wedding anniversary. Over the last 30 years he made toys for toys for Toys For Tots. His widow advertised the tools and had many interested people but she wanted the tools to stay together and go to a special home. She liked Adrienne’s story and decided to sell the equipment to her. When Adrienne went to pick-up the equiptment the woman gave Adrienne the last toy her husband made before he passed away. Adrienne’s first project in her new wood shop is to make something for the woman.

“I find myself drawn to great dinner tables. I just love tables. I love envisioning eight people around just sharing a meal.” –Adrienne Romine

At the end of our conversation I asked Adrienne what her “money doesn’t matter” dream is right now. She immediately said, “I would have a shop with central AC.” After she had a few more moments to think Adrienne spoke of having the equipment (such as a truck), time and money to work with more exotic material such as zebra wood and  reclaimed materials like bowling ally floors  (similar to the collective District Millworks). She would also get an MFA at RISD for Furniture Design. I have no doubt all of those things will happen and most likely sooner than she thinks!

Some furniture that inspires Adrienne: District Millworks and Design Milk, and Wharton Esherick, a fellow painter gone furniture/sculptor.

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