Wasteland by Johnny Romeo

On Friday 23rd, Mitchell Fine Arts Gallery on Arthur Street, Fortitude Valley, hosted pop artist Johnny Romeo’s Wasteland; A bleak pop dystopia where all sense and meaning has been lost to greed and excess.

After rave reviews for his shows in Alice Springs, New York and Sydney, Johnny made the bold decision to bring his art to Brisbane for the first time.

Mitchell Fine Art Gallery has been around since the mid-nineties, starting with exhibitions of Indigenous art and slowly expanding its portfolio to contemporary work. 

The Arthur Street location only opened in 2015 and offers over 200 meters squared of floor space, clean white walls and personable staff who are happy to help with any queries. 

They have hosted previous shows with the likes of Carlos Barrios, Jeff Mankin and Min Woo Bang, and their partnership with Johnny drew a healthy crowd. 

There is little wonder why. He is a 21st century painter, part of the Post Modern movement and is considered as one of the best modern pop artists in the world.

Wasteland reminisces on a loss of the old and the golden age, particularly in terms of Americana and the Wild West. 

James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, cowboys and Indians and a few animal skulls leap off the canvases in hues of acid yellow, fluorescent pink, orange and green mixed with angry reds and soothing blues. 

Themes of conflict were touched on in portraits of comic superheroes – Batman vs Superman on one side, Iron Man vs Captain America on the other. 

Johnny’s work is very much polarising and in your face; and that is the way it is supposed to be. Forget standing around sipping champagne and making polite conversation. 

Johnny wants people to talk, and his debut in Brisbane certainly got tongues wagging.

Words by Jess McMillan

Image by artist 

Details: Wasteland by Johnny Romeo | September 23 to October 15 | Mitchell Fine Art Gallery, 86 Arthur Street Fortitude Valley | Free entry