Ni sombra, living ligatures: Tyler Christopher Brown and Clara Cruz

April 18 - May 18, 2024

Tyler Christopher Brown and Clara Cruz come together to explore the residue of corrosive myths and time passing in their duo exhibition “Ni sombra, living ligatures.”  


Show dates: April 18–May 18, 2024

39 West 14th, #308, New York


“Ni sombra, living ligatures” is a cryptic composition of memories and myths,  a catalog of concerns captured in concrete and steel, a contemplative cacophony examining the constraints of our material reality. It holds accumulated conversations; thoughts and theories, feelings and figments of aspiration codified and collapsed into objects, paintings, and pieces of our past. The artists' positions have converged and clashed over time. In this pensive memoir, they question the politics and the poetics of what will last.


Cruz invokes memory, memorials, and other wormholes in the fabric of lived time. Her paintings re-run silty echos and half-grown truths, turning them into breathing ghost stories. She builds up and wears away surfaces to mess with the linear flow of time. Her sculptural works move between understanding death as a vital and regenerative force, and death as an imminent threat to people deemed expendable by late capitalism. 


Brown explores the prospect of prosperity through eroded arrangements, which turn fugacious thoughts and found objects into representational reliquaries. Clothing collections from boulevards, nineteen-sixties car carcasses, and pernicious vines are a few of the components that creep into the configurations. The works stand as a contentious catalog of consumer culture, collating upward mobility with its detritus.


In “Ni sombra, living ligatures” Cruz’s concrete slabs are ballast for Brown’s gnarled vines as they reach upward to rationalize constructed confines or outgrow them. Meanwhile, Brown’s rusted car-roof paintings serve as a sobering counterpoint to Cruz’s figurative works.


The artists’ fractured formations capture aspects of growth and decay reflected in American culture. Brown and Cruz’s conceptual frameworks are influenced by their respective mixed and diasporic backgrounds. Ni sombra, translated as “not even a shadow,” comes from a classic song referring to the legend of La Llorona, the weeping woman damned to wander eternally in Mexican folklore. “living ligatures” asks the viewer to gaze at the absurdity of the world through a Satreian lens. The title is an entry point for contemplative dialog around the intersections of myth and materialism.


Tyler Christopher Brown received his BFA from Hunter College in New York (2019) and MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (2022). His solo exhibition, This Bitter Earth, opened at M+B Gallery, Los Angeles (2023), he also showed with the gallery at NADA Miami. His work has appeared in Time Magazine and in shows with the Getty in Los Angeles and SculptureCenter in New York. He will attend the Fountainhead Residency in Miami in October 2024. He lives and works between New York and LA. 


Clara Cruz holds a BFA from Hunter College (2019) and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. (2023). Residencies include Mass MoCA and the David Wurtzel travel grant in Tuscany, Italy. Her work has been exhibited in New York and Virginia and published in New American Paintings. She lives and works in the Bronx.