Houston’s art gallery gem in the Design District shines a light on the faceless wonders of Rene Romero Schuler

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Jhe discerning eyes of Houston art lovers once again turn to the Grogan Gallery as the Houston Design District’s aesthetic pioneer shines a spotlight on acclaimed painter and sculptor Rene Romero Schuler. The Chicago native has seduced national and international critics and collectors for years with her dreamy portraits. Now, thanks to Grogan, Houstonians can wander Schuler’s colorful worlds of his solo exhibit, My Heart Holds A Universe, right here in Bayou City.

You’ll find the Grogan Gallery at 7800 Washington Avenue, in the heart of the Design District. It is a truly international gallery, representing over 20 artists from the United States, Latin America, Europe and Australia. Schuler’s distinctive work – and this new exhibition – dovetails perfectly with his powerful aesthetic.

In Schuler’s painted creations, faceless figures float in an atmosphere of vibrant color, often wearing robes as nebulous as clouds. Renowned for these vibrant yet enigmatic portraits, Schuler’s paintings, sculptures and works on paper depict the spiritual essence of these figures. The work alludes to the unknown stories of resilience of individuals – and especially women – all over the world.

“They became testimonies of strength, of individuality, of the power of women, of brotherhood, all these different ideas rolled into one. Just from this simple figure”, explains David Hardaker, director of the Grogan Gallery.

Trevi by René Romero Schuler, 2021. Oil on canvas.

From afar and from certain angles, some figures appear to have features. Get closer and the mysterious and deeply layered facelessness prevails and allows viewers to complete the picture using their own experiences and imagination.

“There’s a simplicity that you visualize when you look at the paintings, but they’re actually not simple to paint,” Hardaker details. “She paints with a knife and she has developed a particular style. If you know anything about paint, it’s pretty hard to get consistent stabs. »

Yet this unique style and technical mastery translates into canvas textures that sometimes resemble surfaces in the natural world, such as tree bark or ancient rock. In others, figures seem to emerge from rainy landscapes or are seen behind tempered glass, obscuring and adding an air of mystery to these delicate yet powerful figures. They exist both as a mirage and as beings claiming their place in the world.

“I think she would say there’s not much in the painting that’s unintentional. And she could also say that you won’t necessarily be aware of anything intentional,” Hardaker notes.

A global artistic force at the Grogan Gallery in Houston

In addition to exhibitions around the world, from Chicago to Paris, Rome, Singapore and Beirut, Schuler’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Union League Club of Chicago, the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago, from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. , Coral Springs Museum of Art and St. Thomas University Museum of Art – Sardiñas Gallery in Miami.

Hardaker notes that in interviews, Schuler avoids talking explicitly about his childhood and adolescence. Yet, in discussing her work, she reveals that the art has become a healing practice for a traumatic past.

“The only thing she wants to focus on is that she made it,” he says. “I think these people in the paintings are testament to their success. I think she keeps an air of mystery about their real origin for a very good reason.

“I think they’re both autobiographical and ambitious.”

Writing about his creations, Schuler explains, “Regardless of whatever darkness may have filled my young life, I survived and became healthy, strong and loving. That’s all I bring to my job, for me.

“I will continue to create unique and solitary figures, not to express loneliness, but because it is my way of conveying the idea that we are all unique and that our ways of interpreting the world around us are completely individual.”

Grogan Gallery presents René Romero Schuler's personal exhibition My Heart Holds a Universe.  (Photo by Katrina Wittkamp)
Shimmers by René Romero Schuler, 2019
Oil on canvas.

My heart contains a universe, the title of this solo exhibition at the Grogan Gallery comes from Schuler’s perception of his art as both a healing process and a spiritual practice. She has immersed herself in the ideas of Deepak Chopra and Glennon Doyle and subscribes to philosophies that the human body is a temporary home for the soul, linked to the greater universe.

“In my own personal vision, I created an idea of ​​my heart holding a bit of the universe inside of it,” Schuler says. “Somehow to think that thought fills me with happiness. I feel great and whole and I love pure love.

My Heart Holds A Universe will be on view until Friday March 18 at the Grogan Gallery. To learn more about Grogan Gallery and all of its unique art, check out its full website.

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