Hometown: Trenton, N.J.
Think of: Michael Wolf’s photographs of Hong Kong’s densely stacked architecture, with more scope and more eye candy. Muldowney’s capacious photographs raise political and sociological questions about urban and suburban landscapes.
What caught our eye: Muldowney’s 2013 exhibition of her photos of Hong Kong at Gallery Kayafas: old packed against new, smoggy but luminous, a world in speedy transition. She has work up now in the “Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Program Fellows and Finalists Photography” show at the New Art Center.
Light-bulb moment: Muldowney’s view of a wind turbine in front of the Mystic power plant sparked her latest project photographing wind turbines in Northeast cities. “What do they mean to the community that sees it from all angles? Some of them are PR. What will they look like in 20 years?”
Biggest thrill: Muldowney teaches at Boston College and the New England Institute of Art, and she organizes a student show for the annual Flash Forward Boston photography festival, which will take place in May. “The student show is the first exhibition for these college kids. . . . I love it when it goes up on the wall, and they bring their parents, who may be skeptical of this life choice.”
Biggest surprise: “When I started applying for shows with the Hong Kong work. First you get 30 rejection letters. Then I get into one show, then two shows by the end of 2011, and by June 2012 I was getting calls from all over the country and showing in Europe. That year was crazy.”
Inspired by: The Asian photos of Wolf and Edward Burtynsky. “Burtynsky tends to flatten the environment, and take a privileged, Western perspective. I was trying to counter that.” Also, photographers Brian Ulrich and Jeff Rich.
Aspires to: “I’m riding a fine line between organizational work in the arts, educational work in the arts, and my own work. I know I’ll always be involved in the photography community. Right now I don’t want to put myself into much of a box.”
For good luck: “I try to go to as many of my friends’ openings as possible. If you don’t support others, karma will bite you in the ass.”
What people should know: “My work is more questions than answers. It’s clearly political; I’m not trying to dodge that. I approach [a subject] from as many angles as I can, so it seems ambiguous, and people can enter into a dialogue with it.”
Coming soon: Muldowney will be featured in Photo District News’s “30 2014” story in its April issue.