VISUALART_Aberdeen_cGreerMuldowney

It's night in Greer Muldowney's photo. Bright lights illuminate cranes perched atop a row of skyscrapers in Hong Kong, all seemingly sprouting overnight, simultaneously.

The title of the Somerville photographer's show at Gallery Kayafas, "6,426 per km2," references Hong Kong's ranking as one of the world's most densely peopled metropolises. But she's wary of the critique in many photos of China's building boom — depicting astonishing development, environmental degradation, old neighborhoods flattened to make way for the new.

"There's a very Westernized perception. . . . It's very bleak. It's very gray," she says. "I just don't think that it's fair to say they're doing everything wrong . . . when they're just trying to emulate us."

For six months beginning in 2010, she documented the strata of the city's development — Chinese and colonial buildings of the 1950s and '60s stand amidst 1970s and '80s towers, which themselves are dwarfed by new skyscrapers. She records cheery colored facades and breathing space between towers, but her eye can't resist the relentless architectural geometry. Which blunts her fresh insights.

"Hong Kong and Kowloon Peninsula are growing up instead of out — like us," she notes. "They built this city to be as dense as possible to save more green space in the mountains."

GREER MULDOWNEY "6,426 PER KM2" :: Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston :: Through February 16 :: 617.482.0411 or gallerykayafas.com 

Related: Jerry Uelsmann hallucinates for you, Family album: The Addison Gallery collects Innu snapshots, Sandcastles and sunspots: The year in art, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Photography, Hong Kong, Kowloon,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIFE IS A CARNIVAL  |  August 27, 2014
    To run away with the circus — it’s a glamorous metaphor for “leaving a dull life for a colorful one.”
  •   A WORLD GONE WRONG  |  August 20, 2014
    The skies always seem threatening in Jennifer Hrabota Lesser’s paintings.
  •   OUTWARD AND INWARD  |  August 06, 2014
    A couple years or so back, Samuel Denoncour spent a year traveling alone across these United States.
  •   BEAUTY AND RUIN  |  July 30, 2014
    You’ve surely seen Providence painter Agustín Patiño’s work.
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK