Mia Mulvey is an interdisciplinary artist and professor of studio art at the University of Denver. In Mulvey’s multimedia practice, art and science intersect with ceramics and technology. Her works capture the passage of time through the lens of the anthropocene, climate change, and integrated ecosystems. Albedo Effect is directly drawn from her field research during The Arctic Circle Residency (2019) based in Svalbard, Norway. During this two-week residency, international artists and writers sail throughout the Arctic Ocean in the Norwegian Archipelago, midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole.
In Albedo Effect, Mulvey visually translates the effect of albedo, the measurement of the proportion of light a surface is able to reflect or absorb. Sixty percent of the Norwegian archipelago is covered in glaciers, however it is currently warming at twice the rate of areas at the same latitude. As the glaciers warm, their reflectance and brightness reduce and their color darkens, which further accelerates the heating process because darker surfaces absorb more light. Permafrost fires, forest fires, and industrial pollution also contribute to the loss of brightness of glacial surfaces and sea ice.
Mulvey’s site-specific, outdoor sculpture is symbolic of this feedback loop between glacial melting and global warming and the interconnectivity between climate and albedo. The triad of ceramic sculptures are modeled from 3D scans of glaciers Mulvey generated while in the Arctic. The sculpture is affixed on top of three wooden pallets that signify the notion of time and transport, symbolizing the vast distance between the origin of the glaciers and its present installation site. Over the span of a week, Mulvey intermittently exposed the unfired clay to the elements in Colorado. This process created permanent imprints in the glazed clay from the outdoors, localizing the influence of climate and weather.
Albedo Effect reminds us how the impact of our daily lives is echoed in the Arctic Circle by not only the sound of ice cracking, but also the level of light dimming.
About the artist
Mia Mulvey’s work explores the recording of time, climate change and our relationship to remote landscapes through such forms as ancient trees, ice and geology. Through field research in locations such as Scandinavia, the Western US and the Arctic Circle, she is interested in information bound in the land through layers and forms. In an effort to honor the “ground truth” of specific locations her process involves utilizing technology to sculpturally record and investigate the environment. Mulvey received her M.F.A from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her B.F.A from Arizona State University. Her work has shown in numerous galleries and venues such as the Denver Art Museum, American Museum of Ceramic Art, ASU Ceramic Research Center, and the Kohler Art Center. She has received numerous grants and residencies at the Montello Foundation, Kohler Arts in Industry, Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center and The Arctic Circle.
BMoCA InsideOut features rotating commissions from local and international artists who push the boundaries of art within the public realm. Bringing the conversation beyond the museum’s walls, the projects aim to generate responsible criticism, foster active public disclosure, and pique the community’s interest in the evolving field of contemporary art. A site for temporary artistic intervention, BMoCA InsideOut is an exhibition platform that offers unexpected creative encounters. The only constant is the temporary nature of each project.