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Morán Morán
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Cauleen Smith at Morán Morán


Cauleen Smith’s solo show at Morán Morán, her first with the gallery, centers around the geologic site of the caldera, a water-filled depression in the earth that can occur as a result of volcanic activity. Walking into the gallery, a series of fabric banners contain bold appliqué symbols and text. Volcanoes, crows, and crystals are repeated often, but the imagery never coalesces into a clear reading. The text on the banners feature phrases like “your rock my volcano,” “I who have nothing…,” “you rock my world,” and “sea the sound,” falling somewhere between poetry and protest.

This fluid shifting of meaning becomes more literal in two large pieces that use pigmented wax to create sediment-like layers that mirror geologic imagery found elsewhere in the gallery. The wax works can be lit like candles, allowing their surfaces to molt and erode, forming new pools and outcroppings that mirror natural ecological processes. The exhibition ends with a film, My Caldera, that distorts volcanic footage and scores it to heavy metal music, highlighting the intensity of the earth’s shifting plates. Across the show, Smith uses natural phenomena to highlight the power of the earth and to consider humans’ extractive tendencies that often privilege short-term comfort to long-term sustainability and harmony.

On view: November 4 – December 22, 2022

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Photo: Image courtesy of the artist and Morán Morán.