On Saturday, February 24, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly present a solo exhibition featuring new works by Toronto-based artist Troy Brooks, entitled “SKINWALKER,” in Gallery 3.
Influenced by a mixture of classic Hollywood imagery and ancient mythology, Brooks creates surrealistic portraits of elongated women. Eerily seductive and intensely emotional, this new series of bold and unique oil paintings present an elaborate pageantry of female characters placed in allegorical settings. About his new show, he shares, “The new girls are really vibrant. Visually speaking, it’s sorta like a cool lime sorbet after having a gorgonzola pizza.”
Brooks adds: “My girls have always moved in cycles. Every year there’s a mood that sort of surfaces throughout my work, and after marinating in it, the concept usually generates its opposite in the next series. In other words, a year of reflective work is followed by more whimsical themes. I often refer to this as my crop rotation.
Last year the death of my mother dominated my work and what came out were a suite of paintings that suggested a requiem. When I finished that mournful series, the need to counter the previous paintings was more dramatic than it ever had been. The depictions of loss and sadness in the ‘Shinigami’ series were succeeded by new girls with a distinctively different flavor: they were almost appetizing. The color of candy. I try not to curate myself too much when I’m creating a series so that my intuition has elbow room, but now that this new work is complete, I think the most interesting aspect of this collection is the truculent sexuality. What organically emerged after the death of my paintings from my ‘Shinigami’ series, were a sequence of erotically charged figures morphing into their animal familiars. Resulting in images more overtly carnal than any of my previous work.
As Shinigami was the Japanese Grim Reaper myth that I cloaked the last series with, this time I used the legend of the Skin Walker. The Navajo story of the shape shifting Skin Walker is something I have been fascinated by for years. It’s said to be a type of witch that has the ability to turn into or possess animals. This is a decidedly dark folklore that has spilled onto my canvas as satire. Animals have always figured in my paintings. This time, instead of posing in supporting roles, animal and human merge with a feral, explosive sensuality, ultimately balancing out the despairing themes of my mother’s requiem.”