Johnny Romeo Australian Artist Pop Art Film Movie Mashup Oil and Acrylic on Canvas Pop Artist Boyd-Dunlop Gallery Contemporary Art Hawkes Bay Napier Hastings Street
Johnny Romeo

Soaky Bubble, 2024


Soaky Bubble, 2024

acrylic and oil on canvas

1010 x 1010 mm


Wade through the bubbly waters of art history with Johnny Romeo’s cheeky tribute to Pop Art innuendo, Soaky Bubble. Full of bright, bubblegum hues, the painting playfully appropriates Roy Lichtenstein’s classic work ‘Woman in Bath’ (1963). The subject of the woman in the bath has long been a popular trope throughout art history, with Lichtenstein himself drawing inspiration from the ‘Bath of Venus’ motif popularized by painters like François Boucher (1751) and Sir William Blake Richmond (1895). By positioning himself within this cultural lineage, Romeo encourages us to explore how notions of beauty and feminine desire have shifted over time. The artist injects a healthy dose of fun into his revisionist Kitsch Pop take on Lichtenstein’s painting, replacing the soapy sponge of the original with a comically over-sized duck. Romeo doubles down on the gleeful absurdity of the duck through the slick word play of ‘Rubber Pluck Duck,’ referencing his own creative process of ‘plucking’ Florentin Hofman’s famous floating rubber duck sculptures from art history and inserting one into his own bubble bath playground. Considerations of consumerism and pop culture also play a key role in the work, with Romeo using the title Soaky Bubble to artfully recall the collectable Soaky Bubble soaps popularised by Palmolive in the 1960s. In contrast, the giant rubber duck held by Romeo’s soapy seductress points to our own materialistic attitudes today, where bigger is always better.

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