Pop Goes the Easel! Pop Art First Came to Prominence in the '60S but Is Now Facing a Colourful Renaissance Thanks to New Breed of British Artists. Dave Owens Previews an Exciting Show That Throws the Spotlight on These Emerging Talents

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Byline: Dave Owens

THINK of pop art and what images does this conjure up for you? Sir Peter Blake's iconic Sergeant Pepper'sLonely Hearts Club Band cover maybe? Robert Lichtenstein's much aped Whaam! fighter pilot painting possibly? Or at a guess, Andy Warhol's legendary multi-coloured Marilyn Monroe portraits? All three pioneering pop artists had their heyday in the Swinging Sixties, but now thanks to the high profile of British Pop Art svengali Damien Hirst, this most colourful of art forms is facing another upsurge in popularity.

An exhibition that opens this week at the Off The Wall gallery in Cardiff aims to showcase the new generation of Brit pop artists.

Art & Life - Exciting Pop Art Show opens tomorrow and showcases impressive work from the likes of Youngerman, Brian Weavers, Ed Chapman and formerWelsh Student Artist of the Year Jason Davies.

Also among the new breed that will be exhibiting is Welsh artist Glyn Bateman. The 33-year-old former web designer will be showing his striking, socially-aware form of Pop Art.

The artist says his inspiration for his work came from an unlikely source.

"The ideas for my work developed during the start of the recession in 2008 when I had begun my MA," explains the Cardiff Art School graduate.

"I experienced the bleakness of the empty shop windows in my local village, which were full of whitewash and redundant window graphics and this gave me the idea to experiment with materials used in commercial signage such as vinyl, which became part of the visual language of the work.

"Essentially, Iwanted to create windows full of my own decals that would reflect upon the world and offer social commentary upon the human condition and living in 21st century contemporary society.

"Despite the hardships of the recession, I also wanted to also comment upon the corporations who were largely unscathed by it.

"So I have also produced work using more expensive processes, whose features would become part of the work, such as developing large metallic photographic prints and mounting them between perspex and aluminium.

"The end results give the work a pristine, high sheen and corporate aesthetic which also ties in to the idea of 'boom-time' excessive commodity culture, our emotional ties to products, brands and perfectly produced commodities.

"The high sheen of the work points directly towards the shiny, superficial, pure surfaces we encounter in our shopping experiences. …