Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Bathing Beauty" by Maekawa Senpan

The room she occupies is sturdy and small, yet made airy with light hues and tall ceilings.This stark but lovely image harmonizes the organic and geometric. Lines of floor boards, wall panels, and beams form patterns that recede in a predictable manner. And yet the subtle textures of wood grain and unevenly applied ink along with the curves in the woman's body and water ripples breath life into the picture.

I hear the sound of the water flowing and smell the scent of pine. The woman's isolation is downplayed by her skin colored the same warm, washed-out hue as the bare wood  of the room. Instead of being the main focus of the scene, her presence is part of a particular location and moment. She sits on the edge of a tub, her legs submerged in water, and appears as firmly planted as a tree. The tub is set into the floor and perfectly square. Squares often symbolize plains, fields, and the earth itself. Natural light from a narrow window is brightly reflected in the pool. The bather sits opposite to the window, sitting up straight and facing the only source of light. It is as if she is in a shrine, facing an altar. The window, or perhaps what lies beyond it would be the object of worship. Though this image depicts an interior scene, I feel that it is about what is outside.

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