Acrylic and oil on canvas
101 x 101 cm
Mystery abounds in Johnny Romeo’s neon-drenched Surrealist Pop painting Brave Days. Inspired by the iconic Beatles love song ‘Here, There and Everywhere’, off their 1966 classic album ‘Revolver’, the work portrays the head of Paul McCartney longingly staring to the side of the canvas as the silhouette of a woman with an eye and a waving arm loom in the background. Romeo injects a cheeky sense of gallows humour into the painting as he depicts Paul’s disembodied head on a plate in a manner similar to John the Baptist, a sly reference to the ‘Paul is Dead’ urban legend which alleged that the Beatle died in a car crash in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike. There is an intoxicating but unsettling feel to the work that belies its sweet, candy coated hues, as the mysterious female figure stands with her back to the audience, her vision replaced by a singular eye. The fever dream imagery of the eye nods to the idea of the woman as being everywhere, all seeing and all knowing, a sentiment captured in the lyrics of ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ (‘I want her everywhere’, ‘watching their eyes/And hoping I’m always there’). Despite the song’s romantic insistence on perpetual connection, there is a palpable sense of distance and longing between the lover figures in the painting, a visceral desire for love bordering on obsession that is captured in the word assemblage ‘Crave’. The text passage cleverly conceals the word ‘wave’, a sly pun on the symbol of the upraised waving arm and its reference to the lyric ‘changing my life with a wave of her hand.’ Amidst the restless throes of yearning, the title of the painting looks forward to ‘brave days’ where love can be shared ‘knowing that I’ll always be there’.
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