Acrylic and oil on canvas
101 x 101 cm
The music of The Beatles has long had a flair for the psychedelic, but few songs draw listeners into a hazy, impressionistic dreamworld quite like their classic 1967 single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. In High Sigh, Johnny Romeo captures the bewitching psychedelia of the iconic Beatles psych Pop masterpiece with a delectable slice of Surrealist Kitsch Pop that gleefully blurs the lines between the real and the imaginary. Kaleidoscopic rainbow colours burst from the canvas with an invigorating energy as the daydreaming head of John Lennon floats amidst a dreamscape of cut strawberries and hovering eyes. Inspired by Surrealist semiotics, Romeo uses the symbol of eyes to explore Lennon’s questioning of reality and identity in the lyrics of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ as he cautions against living life with our eyes closed off to the infinite possibilities of the subconscious (‘Living is easy with eyes closed / Misunderstanding all you see’). Cut strawberries lie at the base of the painting, acting as a literal manifestation of Lennon’s fantastical Strawberry Fields, and more importantly as a reminder to the viewer that nothing is real or worth getting hung up about. Romeo wittily evokes the sense of spiritual yearning experienced by Lennon while writing ‘Strawberry Fields…’ under the influence of hallucinogenics in the cheeky title High Sigh. This sense of weightless euphoria present in the lyrics and the whimsical melodies of the song is brought to its lofty conclusion through the crossed-out text passage ‘Eye’, which plays with our notion of being ‘hung up’ about reality by spelling the word ‘Sky’.
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