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Nino Mier Gallery
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Conrad Ruiz at Nino Mier


As fire season looms, Conrad Ruiz’ solo show “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” looks head on at fire’s destructive and generative properties. All of the watercolor works in the show depict fire in various cultural and urban settings — dousing the front chassis of a truck at a monster truck rally, raging in a dumpster behind a protester’s raised fist, or ballooning a street corner as a man pops a wheelie on his bike in the foreground. In each, fire serves as an accessory to the action rather than a central catastrophe, like a prop used to intensify each scene. 

“Man on Fire XV,” for example, depicts a figure set albaze as a newspaper smolders in front of him. Even still, Ruiz captures the flames before they’ve spelled out certain doom — the man’s white sneakers and pressed jeans remain unscathed. Each piece captures the precise moment before things turn deadly, picturing the immense potential of fire to destroy or allow for rebirth.

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Photo: Conrad Ruiz, “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” at Nino Mier. Courtesy of the artist and Nino Mier Gallery.