Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Bad girls

Toronto artist Troy Brooks presents his latest batch of ladies at Pentimento gallery

Hazy Jane, from Troy Brooks's new show, March of the Velvets. Credit: Troy Brooks

“I might have masculine mannerisms but my interests are of the highest order of faggotry,” says ruggedly handsome Troy Brooks of the paintings in his show March of the Velvets. “Anyone I've dated has had to sit through a Joan Crawford movie at some point whether they like it or not. If I didn't grow up in a closet I'm sure the women in my paintings wouldn't be so pissed off.”

The women in March of the Velvets are sleek, sexy and just a little bit scary. “Of my girls, it's usually the violent ones that linger with me,” says Brooks. “I felt I was born the wrong sex when I was very little. In my situation, that feeling changed, but I experience every female character I paint, and there's a lot more going on in those paintings than people think. People always ask me to explain what's going on in the paintings but it's so intimate. They're buried in symbolism for a reason. And for that reason it's off limits.”

This is Brook’s fourth solo show at Pentimento since 2010 and the world cannot get enough of his “girls.” Fortunately he is prolific. “It's a huge blessing to do this work full-time, but with that comes an obligation to cultivate it,” he says. “And I believe that old saying – if you do not bring forth what is inside you, it will destroy you. To be honest, everything before these women started showing up was destructive in one way or another.”

The girls come and they go. “I'd be in big trouble if my girls didn't find new homes,” says Troy of his canvas muses. “I need the space to work.” Luckily for him, the girls help promote. “The girls picked the title March of the Velvets. I still haven't figured it out. They don't let me in on all their secrets.”