René Romero Schuler is one of the most important and well-collected, contemporary artists to emerge out of the Midwestern United States. Now living in both Chicago, IL and Carmel, CA, this artist is creating powerful images of strength and vulnerability 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 Schuler captures are equal parts self-portraiture and portraits of the range of human emotions that she has experienced in her all-too-colorful life. Her approach is personal yet universal, and essentially intimate. The work is visually and emotionally affecting; it powerfully reveals her appreciation for the struggle and triumph of the human condition and speaks to global and societal issues that continue to impact daily lives.
Schuler’s work is in the permanent collections of The Union League Club of Chicago, Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago, Grand Valley State University in Michigan, Coral Springs Museum of Art, and St. Thomas University Museum of Art – Sardiñas Gallery in Miami. Her work is in public and private collections around the world and has exhibited internationally in Paris, Rome, Paxos, Singapore, and Beirut. A musical production, Jolere, was wholly inspired by Schuler’s works, with five original scores composed by Lee Kesselman and accompanying contemporary dance choreographed by Joanna Lees. Jolere performed to sold-out audiences in Minneapolis, 2013 and Chicago, 2015.
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. A new book, simply titled René Romero Schuler, was released in August 2016.
Spirit is what connects all of humanity. The innate human nature that drives us to judge one another based on nothing more than face value is a notion that fascinates me and thoroughly influences the direction of my work. I have many great artistic influences, of course, but my own exploration has become what truly propels me forward. My personal quest for a feeling of connection to what lies around me has not only been a very spiritual mission, but it has led me to a deep understanding of something I learned from Deepak Chopra many years ago: “We are all spiritual beings in rented bodies…this body is a blessing, but it is temporary. Only the spirit endures.”
In every work I create, I strive to show the imperfection, stress, and underlying beauty of the beings I portray. There are no fine characteristics or clearly defined attributes in these figures. They are “everyone” and “no one”. They are stripped to their most essential elements…their most basic form. The meaning is in the “representation” of the image, not the image itself. Every mark is deliberate.
I do not limit myself to any single medium. Texture is my vehicle. With a very fluid and meditative approach to my practice, what continues to emerge is this constant: our inner beauty transcends the physical, emotional, and mental barriers that our life experiences have created within us. What I hope to tap into is the need for every single one of us to realize and embrace that. My work is deeply connected to my soul, and I attempt to convey that in everything that I do.