Since the closing of Brooks' home gallery Pentimento, Brooks has participated in group shows, joint shows and had solo shows in Berlin and New York City, before finding a new home base at galleryHOUSE. His first show there, Veiled Hearts, is a stunner.
The women, easily upstaging their ornate pitch-black frames, are divas of the film noir/sci-fi variety. Whether in danger or creating danger, they are languid and seemingly unconcerned - the viewer has to join their reality and, if they dare, puzzle out the secrets or narrative caught in a moment of time. Brooks is adding little flourishes - an extra sparkle of light in the eyes and Tennessee Williams-esque swan in "Heart of Glass," the three-dimensional viscous slither of gylercin slime sliding from the book tentacles in personal favourite "Veiled Slumbers" - but the women remain enigmatic, enticing and surreally grounded in realism.
There is a welcome addition of prints - including the much coveted "Exodus" with its blood-red escaping, or predatory, or unleashed, butterflies - making Brooks' work available to a wider group of collectors. Two sketches hint at future women to come, these more animalistic and uninhibited. And a sumptuous coffee table book collects many of the women, past, present and timeless, between covers for a perusal that feels titillatingly voyeuristic.
Brooks is so genial, and genuinely overjoyed to be making a living creating art on his own terms and delving into his deepest obsessions, that one sees where the women get their strength. Even the mascara tears staining the razor-sharp cheekbones of the femme fatale in ""Only the Wolves are Listening," are transitory: these women may have Veiled Hearts but Brooks' heart is there on the canvas.