Berlin-Based Muralist James Bullough Paints Broken Beauties

by Roxanne GoldbergPosted on

Berlin-based American artist James Bullough splinters and fractures hyper-realistic paintings of women to open spaces through which complex and unfinished stories are revealed. The vibrancy of skin tone and naturalistic musculature in Bullough’s technique were learned through an intensive study of Old Master paintings. Bullough’s interest in Old Masters is also evident in the way in which several of his nude subjects stare at the viewer, while taking care to keep their faces at least partially concealed. In this way, Bullough does not merely engage in philosophical narratives surrounding the male gaze, but rather, he exacerbates the conversation by highlighting shifts and rifts where the viewer could conceivably put the pieces back together. However, titles such as “Begin Again” and “From Ashes” return the agency to the subjects as they enter into moments of renewal.  The emotive effect of Bullough’s painting is perhaps greatest when in the large scale of mural paintings. In such spray-painted works as “Float,” as part of the Richmond Mural Project in Richmond, VA, a gravitational force seems to pull apart the pieces, twisting and reflecting them in the atmosphere.

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