When it comes to tension, stress, and reaching your “breaking point”, American artist James Bullough understands these mental processes as being more than just part of the human psyche. In fact, he believes that they affect our whole bodies, causing a similar feeling of tension throughout our limbs and movements. In order to portray this mind-body relationship, Bullough chose to work in conjunction with Berlin-based dancers to create a series of unique, dynamic paintings.
Fractures, literally, but not really
These paintings, however, do more than just focus on a sense of internal struggle. Instead, they present images that have, quite literally, been fractured. Bullough splits off and shifts parts of each image to communicate that moment of inner “breaking” that can’t always be seen within. This effect creates negative space between the depiction of each person’s body and the section that has been altered or moved.
The effect is to make the person appear as thought they are shattering as they jump, crouch, or move.
The grace of a dancer
Besides the literal fracturing, Bullough depicts a sense of inner breaking by portraying human bodies in movement. The positions and motions in his paintings were chosen by watching dancers move, contorting and extending their bodies to the limits of their physicality. The dancers’ movements were inspired by their own memories of times during which they felt paint, inner turmoil, or stress; times when they thought they’d reached their own breaking points.
And some wood from Deutschland
As if the images themselves don’t communicate the sometimes painful coherence between our psyche and our physical being, Bullough chose to drive the point home in the mediums he chose. Each painting is created using a fine detail paintbrush on canvas frames built with wood taken from the floor of a dance studio in Berlin!