Relatively young for her level of acclaim, Toronto-based artist Winnie Truong (Hi-Fructose Vol. 22 cover artist) created her latest body of work, “Rites of Passage,” as a meditation on crossing the quarter-century mark of her lifetime. The new series of drawings, which debuted at Copenhagen’s Galleri Benoni on April 4, reflect Truong’s simultaneous awareness of her youth and her mortality. “The coming of age theme to ‘Rites of Passage’ is an ambivalent take on my experiences of growth, decay and stagnation,” Truong wrote in an email to Hi-Fructose. “It’s about moving through those transitional stages of adult life without fanfare, or epiphany.”
Hair, the dominant motif in Truong’s work, changes its meaning here. Whereas before she enveloped ladies in bushy manes to challenge beauty norms, in “Rites of Passage” hair becomes like a cocoon or even a cobweb in a catacomb. In several of the drawings, her characters’ hair forms skull shapes that emerge almost like foreboding images inside of a crystal ball. “The subjects in this series explore the feelings of being both simultaneously youthful and mortal; aloof and still full of wonder… which I believe are universal and ageless sentiments,” she added. But despite the allusions to death, we see the plump, peachy skin of her characters and are reminded that they are youthful in this moment, and that the present is worth cherishing.
“Rites of Passage” will be on view at Galleri Benoni through April 24.
Winnie Truong speaking to gallery guests