Last Thursday evening, Ronin Gallery offered a reprieve from the summer heat with the opening of the After the Bath. This exhibition invites you to refresh the senses with scenes from the Japanese Bath. After the Bath presents a selection of woodblock prints from the 17th through the 21st century that celebrate this timeless Japanese tradition. From onsen nestled within stunning views to the beautiful bathers that frequent them, this collection considers both the bath and the intimate moments that follow.
Bruce Smith wrote in his book The Japanese Bath, “in the West, a bath is a place one goes to cleanse the body…In Japan, one goes there to cleanse the soul.” The act of bathing provides a stillness amidst the unceasing pace of life, an opportunity to emerge renewed for the next day to come. Whether one enters a community sento (public bathhouses), serene mountain onsen (hot springs), or a private furo (Japanese bathtub), the warm water provides a time for reflection and revival.
Throughout the history of the Japanese woodblock print, artists found inspiration in the tradition of bathing. These artists evoke the beauty of the quotidian: running a comb through wet hair, applying powder to dewy skin, or fastening a kimono. At the artist’s hand, each gesture is elevated to a graceful ritual of its own. The striking beauties in these prints capture the quiet elegance of the bath. Spanning ukiyo-e to contemporary printmaking, After the Bath considers the bath through the eyes of Japanese print masters, including Koryusai, Eishi, Hokusai, Goyo, Kotondo, Shunsen, Hasui, and more.
Couldn't make the opening? The exhibition will be on view in the gallery through August 17th. Summer plans away from New York? The exhibition can also be viewed online here.