Brandi Read lives and works in Bahrain. She earned a BFA in Painting, magna cum laude at Western Michigan University School of Art in 2006. Read won several awards, grants, and scholarships at the University, including the Seibert Travel Grant from Western Michigan University’s honors college. She used the grant to travel to Paris to research a sculpture for her Victory series of paintings. Read earned the award for Best Work on Paper for a watercolor painting included in the annual juried exhibition at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan in 2005. In the same year she won the LOMA Award as well as the award for Best of Show at the Regional Arts Exhibition in Grand Rapids, Michigan for her oil painting, Pride and Joy, depicting her two children. In 2007 Read earned the award for Best Work on Canvas at the regional juried exhibition at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, MI. Upon graduation Read began exhibiting her paintings in invitational exhibits and group exhibitions in cities across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. where her work was featured in a duo show, Innocence and Arrogance at Art Whino Gallery in 2009. The next year she was awarded the KADI artists grant from the Greater Arts Council of Kalamazoo to fund her series of paintings, Metamorphosis. Read was awarded the Director’s Choice as well as the People’s Choice awards at the Alumni+ exhibition she participated in through Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 2014. Reads work was recently exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock, Texas.
When I read mythology, I sometimes find that the experience of being a woman today is very different from that of women in mythology, but in reality, I find that things have not changed very much for us. Some of my paintings feature strong women that portray characters from Greek mythology with contemporary attributes. Others include marble sculptures that depict mythological women created during the Hellenistic through the Neoclassical movements, questioning what is “set in stone” with regard to gender roles and the ways in which perceptions of women and gender have hitherto changed or remained constant. I include flowers in my work, serving not only as a metaphor for women, but also to symbolize purity, tragic love, and shame; reflecting the mythological narrative represented in the painting, as well as the continuing, yet archaic purity standards placed on women’s sexuality and the associated feelings of sexual shame that persist today.