Conrad Ruiz

Gallery Affiliations: Jessica Silverman Gallery

Region: Pacific Coast

Conrad Ruiz’s large-scale watercolor-on-canvas paintings and works on paper are inspired by the epic scope of Hollywood cinema and history painting. His recent series Juice is a suite of watercolors that explore the history of Pop art, abstract painting, and realist representations of water. Titled after real energy drinks, like Red Bull, and fictive ones, such as Passion Squirt and Punch Monster, the paintings merge classic dichotomies of nature and culture, still life and landscape, figuration and abstraction. Antecedents include David Hockney’s splash paintings, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s seascapes, and Clyfford Still’s Abstract Expressionist canvases. Conceptually, the series pays homage to Andy Warhol’s 1962 hand-painted Coca-Cola series.

In previous work, Ruiz has appropriated found images, but Juice is culled from photographs he took of waves crashing on the California coastline. He reworked the digital files to create sketches that became the reference images. The results are visually complex and sexually evocative.