Johnny Romeo


New Paintings

TOP OF THE POPS is the triumphant, much anticipated Sydney show from internationally acclaimed Australian Pop artist Johnny Romeo. Considered Australia’s foremost Pop artist, Romeo is leading the global charge of Neo-Expressionist Pop art. Brimming with his signature blend of comic book aesthetics, celebrity icons, Americana twang, punk-rock swagger and Grindhouse-grit, TOP OF THE POPS is an electrifying visual mix-tape of new works that perfectly captures Romeo’s inimitable Neo-Expressionist Pop style.

Sharing its title with the highly influential British music programme of the same name, the series is a gloriously spirited and vivacious celebration of all things Pop. Revisiting key motifs from throughout his career, the new works are potent visual Molotov cocktails that take Romeo’s rambunctious and kaleidoscopic style to dazzling new heights. With his insatiable wit and visual swagger, TOP OF THE POPS is classic Johnny Romeo played at maximum volume: the colours are more explosive, the line-work more dynamic, the pop elements more POP.

An avid devotee of Pop culture, TOP OF THE POPS reflects the exhilarating immediacy and catchiness of Pop music. Each work in the series is a veritable visual anthem, brimming with expansive fields of explosive Technicolour hues, commanding lines, and bold, concise graffiti-scrawled text that act as irresistible pop hooks that are at once intoxicating and immensely fun. Bristling with a boisterous punk energy and attitude, Romeo sharpens his humour to a razor-sharp point, cheekily using the Pop medium to burst open and deconstruct our understanding of Pop conventions.

In TOP OF THE POPS Romeo gleefully mashes the brashness of hip-hop and street art with rock’n’roll grit, cartoon heroes, Grindhouse intensity, and celebrity icons, creating invigorating pop culture collages that cheekily turn our perceptions of Pop icons on their head. The consummate postmodern sampler, Johnny Romeo cleverly combs through the diverse canon of Pop culture like a passionate music fan exploring the depths of their music collection.

Paintings such as White Cello exemplify Romeo’s irreverent and wildly eclectic approach. Referencing the iconic 1991 Nirvana single ‘In Bloom’, the work juxtaposes melancholic fields of colour and the righteous angst of grunge with a portrait of Frida Kahlo re-envisaged as a modern day Technicolour Pop deity. The contrast, while jarring at first, offers an ingenious critique on the cult of personality.

By drawing from elements of everyday culture and reconfiguring them into disarmingly incongruous, often hilarious arrangements, TOP OF THE POPS masterfully subverts the familiar into something visually arresting and thrillingly original.

Bold, brash and unapologetically Pop, the series of new paintings is an incendiary collection of Johnny Romeo’s unmistakable Neo-Expressionist Pop style at its most vibrant and bombastic. With its cheeky reference to the cult British music programme, TOP OF THE POPS sees Romeo at the top of his game as the leading force in Australian Pop Art.

Opening night – Thursday 28th May @ 6-8pm.

TOP OF THE POPS is to be open by esteemed art critic Dr Andrew Frost.

Any enquires regarding TOP OF THE POPS can be made directly through NG Art Gallery (ng@ngart.com.au) or by calling the gallery on +61 9 318 2992.


May 20, 2015