A Tableau Vivant: Things They Carry

Local artists Briahna Wenke and Sam Rueter create art by painting live models for their upcoming exhibit "Things They Carry."

Artists Briahna Wenke and Samantha Rueter will perform a tableau vivant – or live pictures – at the Grand Bohemian Gallery for the opening night of Spoletto 2018.

“Things They Carry” is a collaboration between Wenke and Rueter and draws from both of their bodies of work. Both artists moved to Charleston from New York and are thrilled to be a part of Spoleto.

Spoleto has always been such a magnificent presence in Charleston each year, and it feels like a dream to be actually contributing to the world of creativity this festival draws to our city,” Wenke said.  

In this unique art exhibit, the artists aim to celebrate the universal human story, full of complex layers.

Wenke describes her work as “heavy impasto, or expressionistic in style.” Her bold and honest palette knife strokes tell a humanist story.

bri wenke artist charleston

Our modern world is hyper-focused on perfection and irrelevant depictions of the human narrative.  I wish to expose the beauty and flaws, all of it, so we may begin to be more honest with ourselves,” Wenke said.

Rueter also studies the human. She concentrated on the technique and history of the art form during an independent study in college.

“Ever since, I’ve dedicated my time to experimenting and creating work that visualizes the form in a powerful sense,” Rueter said.

“I enjoy using masculine disciplines - such as dark color palettes and bold line - to depict female figures and create a narrative on what it means to be feminine.”  

The main canvases for the evening will be living models. Wenke and Rueter have been practicing painting on skin with a specialty liquid makeup.

“Skin is so different because it already has oils, and the body paint is very loose in quality, it takes a while to dry” Wenke said. “The coverage is great though, and completely satisfying in application.”

In addition to Wenke and Reuter’s tableau, other local artists will contribute to the evening.

Petaloso will contribute a creative floral element in the form of headpieces for the models.

Mary Beth Creates will capture video footage of the entire evening. Alex Agrest of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will perform.

At 7:30 p.m. two large canvas pieces will be auctioned off with proceeds benefitting Creative Mornings Charleston.

The event will take place in the courtyard of the Grand Bohemian Gallery and is open to the public.