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Veiled Hearts: Troy Brooks sets free some more bad girls and mysterious women

by Drew Rowsome - Photos by Raul Da Silva

Troy Brooks has, as always, been busy creating more of his gorgeous, enticing, ethereal and eerie women. In a 2013 interview, fittingly at Halloween, Brooks talked at length of his creative muses and they still, in 2016, have him, and Brooks' fans, enthralled.

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.

Veiled Hearts continues at galleryHOUSE, 2068 Dundas St W. galleryhouse.ca, troybrooks.com

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