“Rise” from James Bullough In Kiev for “Art United Us”

The fractured photorealism of James Bullough continues to rise on walls around the world, a precise sampling and re-laying of images that will be familiar to the viewer but rivetingly rearranged. Here in Kiev to participate in the ArtUnitedUs project, the Washington DC native who now lives in Berlin says he wanted to indirectly address the geo-political conflicts here and elsewhere on the globe that is leaving a great many people feeling stressed and discouraged.


James Bullough for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo detail © James Bullough)

The artist has been building a body of work that recasts the form as a digital image that can be sliced, slidden, replaced, relayered – which for most classically trained painters is anti-intuitive, as the corporeal is something to be contemplated, idealized holistically. The effect is jarring and leads the viewer to reexamine the image, perhaps trying to re-align the pieces – but we learn here that they are not always derived from one image only.


James Bullough for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

BSA: When you create this multiples effect, how do you describe it, and what does it represent to you – energy? spirit? altered perspectives?
James Bullough: I began fracturing and fragmenting my figures a while back in an effort to abstract what I saw as fairly straight forward portraiture.  This shifting brought a new sense of movement and energy to the work and the multiplying of elements (i.e.. hands, feet, faces, exc.) created a bit of a mind f*** which I really liked.

What may look like a simple random cutting and fracturing of a single photo is actually the result of hours and hours of work finding just the right image, or in most cases an amalgamation of multiple different images, and experimenting with countless different versions of fractures and abstractions until something really clicks.


James Bullough for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

BSA: Can you tell us about the process for this piece and how you would like it to convey a possibly optimistic message?
James Bullough: The specific image I chose to use for this painting comes from a series of photos and paintings I’ve created this year called “Breaking Point”.  With this series I asked my models to consider dramatic moments in life when things change instantly, good or bad, and you are not the same after.

With this direction and the choice of dancers and my models, I was able to capture amazingly dramatic positions and angles. Of the hundreds of photos that I have from this series, this image was the clear choice for the feeling of hope and transcendence that I was looking for. With the addition of the red brushstrokes swirling around her symbolizing chaos and confusion, and the fragmented figure breaking free, I offer a bit of strength and optimism to anyone seeking it.


James Bullough for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)


James Bullough for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

Our Sincere thank you to co-founders/curators of Art United Us; Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva, Waone Interesni Kazki