The worlds of Fine Art and street-dance collide as Emma Tooth captures moments of impossible stillness and grace in the seemingly aggressive yet highly controlled movements of B-Boying.


Referencing “old master” paintings and sculptures but featuring unequivocally modern subjects, the artist captures the unexpectedly elegant freezes, power-moves and acrobatic precision of Breakdance with her trademark use of chiaroscuro and stark contrasts of old and new. Later paintings in the series also explore the fetishisation of personal communication devices which paradoxically isolate the inhabitant of the urban jungle rather than facilitate meaningful communication.


Breakdance crash-landed in Emma’s consciousness during her Concilium Plebis project when she painted Derby-based dance team, Trinity Warriors in the style of Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas. Then, in 2009 rival team Bad Taste Cru performed a show based on her paintings in Newcastle and blew her away; ‘The dancers seem to escape the limitations of their bodies and transcend what I imagined human beings are capable of’.'


Inspired by the notion that the dancers need nothing but their bodies to express themselves, the body sometimes appears suspended in empty space, not even in contact with the Earth - surely the ultimate moment of freedom.


For the first time the artist approaches dynamic human anatomy; seemingly peering beneath the skin to examine what underlying mechanisms support these otherworldly postures. At times harsh fields of light and shade dissect the body, almost to abstraction. Notions of masculinity and animalistic display pervade the canvas as Emma Tooth demonstrates that Art can bring together people and ideas that could meet in no other way.



Breaking Art XIV

PROJECT: Breaking Art

an unlikely union between classical fine art and breakdance


oil on canvas


50 x 70cm

collection of the artist