René Romero Schuler is one of the most important and well-collected contemporary artists to emerge out of the Midwest in the last 10 years. Now living in both Chicago and Carmel, CA, this artist is creating powerful images of strength and vulnerability that are capturing the attention of gallerists, collectors, corporations, museums, and the media worldwide. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Union League Club of Chicago, Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago and St. Thomas University Museum of Art – Sardiñas Gallery in Miami.
René’s early expressionistic paintings have been compared (by Polly Ullrich, a Chicago art critic) to those of Jean Dubuffet and Willem de Kooning, while her more recent work is influenced by more contemporary artists like Gerhard Richter, Susan Rothenberg, Joan Brown and Nathan Oliveira. The content and execution of René’s work, however, sets her apart from all others. René’s work tackles emotions that speak to the heart of the human condition: love, sorrow, solitude, and heartbreak, yet, through these depictions of difficult subjects, she inspires her viewers with hope, fortitude, and, ultimately, enduring strength. The figures René captures are equal parts self-portraiture and portraits of the range of human emotions that she has experienced. Her approach is personal yet universal, and ultimately intimate. The work is visually and emotionally affecting, and powerfully reveals her appreciation for the struggle and triumph of the human condition. Of late, René has expanded her intimate human approach to include work that speaks to global and societal issues that she feels strongly about.
René’s execution in creating these exquisite paintings has its foundation in her interior design background. A self-taught artist, René applies layers and layers of oil paint using a palette knife. Her technique involves harnessing textural strata of paint, palette scratches, and bold colors, to create the psychic tension and stress between surface and depth. René’s current style can be described as a more edited and controlled abstract expressionism, wedded with a pop culture sensibility that is uniquely her own.
Whether on canvas, paper, or three-dimensional sculpture, René studies the relationship between what is immediately apparent at the surface and what exists beneath. She creates visually powerful images that haunt us with their beauty and truth. They challenge us to examine what lies within us all and to accept ourselves as both tragic and flawed while at the same time inspiring our internal hero who somehow triumphantly endures.
René has shared her artistic talent and passion by teaching at the Illinois Institute of Art and Chicago City Colleges and lecturing at Northwestern University. In November 2016, she participated in a TedX Talk at Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art. She continues her work with students through Art From The Heart- a not-for-profit organization bringing arts education to schools and students in need, as well as through The Schuler Scholars Program. Her work is on display in public and private collections around the world, and has been exhibited during Art Basel Miami since 2011, and exhibited internationally in Paris, Rome, Paxos, Singapore and Beirut.
A book, René Romero Schuler: Life and Works, showcasing images of the artist’s thick impastos and striking figural canvases in addition to providing readers a look into her artistic process, was released in 2013. And a new book, simply titled René Romero Schuler, was released in August 2016. The current book is a 112 page, soft-bound book, with a Foreword by Pamela Ambrose of Loyola University, and the Essay by Elizabeth Whiting of The Union League Club of Chicago tells us much about the artist and her process, with references to specific works throughout.
-Mary Ann Cohen, MAC Fine Art