Luis Emilio Romero
Born in Barcena, Guatemala; based in New York, NY
Luis Emilio Romero makes meditative abstract paintings that are linked to woven textiles. The artist alludes to the indigenous fiber tradition of his native Guatemala through the ritualistic nature of his process, and the aesthetic nuance of his works.
Romero first makes studies on paper—sketching out each geometric composition. These underlying structures often reference Mayan architecture while also recalling the loom with which indigenous weavers craft fabrics. The methodical way in which he makes marks in oil paint on canvas is mindful. The resulting paintings look highly textured; they evoke the surfaces of Guatemalan tapestries. Rhythms of delicate lines and fields of sumptuous color characterize Romero’s works, many of which refer to spaces and architecture. For the painter, linearity and repetition is a structural foundation. His introspective and spiritual approach traces back to 20th-century artists like Alfred Jensen and Agnes Martin.
Romero’s compositions are rooted in the Guatemalan environment. As surrounding light activates his paintings, the palettes and tactilities of each work are illuminated. His awareness of color and process is evident when a viewer encounters Romero’s rich abstractions.
Luis Emilio Romero garnered an MFA in Studio Arts from Hunter College after earning a BFA in Painting from Rutgers University. He is the recipient of a Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture (2023). Most recently, Romero’s work was exhibited at Arsenal Contemporary, New York, NY (2022).
2022 MFA Candidate, Hunter College, New York, NY.
2019 BFA, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
2019 Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, NJ
2018 Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
2019 Art Jam 2019, Princeton, NJ
2018 The Rutgers Club, New Brunswick, NJ
2018 Onward & Forward, Rutgers Mason Gross
2017 Make a Wish Foundation Gala collaboration with Rutgers Business Governing Association
2017 Between Either & Or, Rutgers Mason Gross
I grew up in Guatemala, surrounded by lush green wildlife and an abundance of high-altitude mountains. As a painter, I draw from the energy of this land and from my family. I respond to the things around me: nature, color, and temperature. I weave them metaphorically using an approach that emphasizes both structure and abstraction.
Weaving is a cultural tradition amongst the indigenous lands that connects the maker to the material both intellectually and emotionally. David B Greene, the author of Weaving Space, has cited an indigenous weaver in Guatemala who says, “We see things all around us, so we weave them, but by the hands and eyes to new perceptual skills.”
In my paintings, I use form and patterning to function as an active force of energy linked to the notion of light and land. The tactility of the painting is linked back to weaving through the nature of oil paint. The complexity of color and texture is intricate and rich to uplift the structure and form. With color and mark making, the painting speaks powerfully to the notion of meditation. It is important to me that it connects back to my struggles and thoughts. I have a spiritual connection with my paintings.
Color in my work is about contrast and reaction to perceive a sense of light and tactility. The practice and study of these paintings have expanded my understanding of labor and patience. The structure of the composition is methodically mapped out through various sketches. These structural elements in the paintings are born out of a need to allow forms to repeat and depict new arrangements of shapes, lines, and colors. The act of painting is a meditative experience that connects abstraction using elements of color, linearity, repetition, and mark making to render the notion of light.