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Rapid Eye Movement

Spartanburg Native Exhibits Art that Reflects Her Dreams

More so than usual, Spartanburg visual artist Brandi Tucker will give patrons a peek into her mind when she exhibits her latest collection of work --  Rapid Eye Movement (REM) -- at West Main Artists Co-op in October 2019.

This exhibit of more than 20 pieces of artwork will open Tuesday, Oct. 1, and will end Saturday, Nov. 2. It will be available for free public viewing Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free and public reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, 5-9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This exhibit is a bit of a departure from my previous work, which is usually colorful and pleasant,” the 37-year-old artist said. “Although I continued to use a colorful palette, some of the subject matter in various pieces is quite dark and disturbing.  My art has always been my form of therapy, allowing me to release my built up emotions and frustrations. I found at times, the recreation of my nightmares difficult. Composing my deepest fears and phobias into art was quite a process and an emotional journey. This body of work is a glimpse into the mind of an artist.  It portrays intimate snapshots of my psyche. I hope this exhibit sparks curiosity, takes the viewer on a voyage of feeling and invokes self-reflection.”

It has taken Tucker more than a year to create this exhibit that uses watercolor, acrylic and mixed media. The work exhibited will be for sale, ranging in price $50 to $500.

In explaining how she developed this exhibit, the Spartanburg native said: “Rapid eye movement (REM) is one of the stages the brain moves through during sleep.  REMS is often associated with very vivid dreams due to an increase of brain activity. Most dreams occur during this stage and are thought to play a role in learning, memory and mood.

“With an 18-year-plus career in sleep medicine, this subject has continued to fascinate me,” she continued. “The idea for this exhibit came from an interaction with one of my patients.  Upon the completion of the placement of numerous wires and electrodes and explaining the purpose of each, the patient appeared to become anxious. Visibly concerned, the patient asked, ‘Can you see my dreams or read my mind with all this stuff on?’  I was able to ease the distress by explaining that I was able to see brain waves, determine staging of sleep but in no way could I see dreams or perform any invasion of the mind. This interaction resulted in further reflection and I understood the apparent concern.  We have no control over our dreams: They’re a sneak peek into our minds. They can contain our greatest hopes, fears, emotional drama, significant life events, and some are often difficult to make any sense of. They are personal and private. I then began to mull over my recurring dreams and found the variety of emotions and subject matter expansive.  I decided to paint a flowing series of images from my subconscious.”

Tucker is a founding member of West Main Artist Co-op.  “I’ve been here since the start,” she said. “I am excited and anxious to exhibit a solo show consisting of my work alone for the first time. The Co-op is a special place full of people from all walks of life who come together for the love of art.  Members are of all ages, various religious backgrounds, political sides, etc. We come and express ourselves. We support and inspire each other. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of.”

In her artist’s statement, Tucker said: “My art is my diary. It is a journey, a constant ongoing process that is ever changing and evolving.  I work with whatever medium strikes my fancy at the given time. My work is as neurotic and eclectic as I am.  Each piece represents different periods of time and memories of my life, various emotions and feelings I have had, and some of my lightest and darkest of days.  In many ways my art is my therapy, allowing me to release all my built up emotions into a tangible piece of art. Henry Ward Beecher said, ‘Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.’  That is what I do each time I pick up my brush. I am Brandi Tucker, an artist with a colorful soul and colorful canvases.”

Tucker is a native of Spartanburg County, and she continues to live there.  She is a graduate of Chesnee High School and attended USC Upstate. She is a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, a Clinical Sleep Educator, and a Registered Sleep Disorders Technologist. Her work has been shown at West Main Artist Co-Op, Gallery East, and the Montgomery building in Spartanburg, SC, and at the Carri Bass Photography and Art studio in Tryon, NC.  Her art reflects her eccentric and eclectic spirit.

West Main Artists Co-op is a nonprofit art center and one of the leaders in visual and performing arts in Spartanburg. It is a membership based agency with more than 50 members from Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, of which about 30 have studio space in what was once a Baptist church on East Main Street. Routinely, each month the Co-op sponsors three art exhibits by its members and by guest artists. It has three galleries, a ceramics studio, a printery, two stages, and the largest collection of for-sale locally made art in the city and county. For more info about the Co-op, please visit online WestMainArtists.org and its Facebook page.