Femmes à leur Toilette: Paintings by Yang Qian
A woman at her bath or “toilette” has been a persistant theme in Western art and Christian iconography. It refers to the most intimate ablutions—cleanliness and thus Godliness—of a woman's daily life. Related to the Jewish idea of the Mikvah, the theme is also a meditation on sacred and profane love, hence good and evil.
Yang Qian (“Yahn Chen”) updates these images for the contemporary viewer with steamy showers and bathrooms yet with a certain inherently oriental reticence.
A veil of steam “mist-ifies” the body as it provokes erotic desire; conceals as it reveals. Chinese modesty about the naked female body combined with the artist's skill is the source of the compelling sublety and beauty in these paintings.
– Michael Berger, 2005