Takaya Miou

The artwork of Takaya Miou is typically categorized as shōjo manga (graphic novels for girls). Her endearing depictions of female characters explore themes of femininity and female identity through imagery reminiscent of early modern European religious painting: figures dressed in intricate Victorian outfits, angels with elaborately rendered wings, and garlands of roses.

In addition to Christianity, however, the themes and imagery in these works originate from a wide variety of other sources, including Art Nouveau designs, Surrealist painting, Symbolist literature, contemporary punk fiction, avant-garde Japanese poetry, and Japanese popular fashion. From these points of departure, Takaya freely explores unsettling topics–violence, unconventional sexuality, and madness–that do not easily conform to the lighthearted sensibility of shōjo manga as a genre. A more accurate label for her work would be mature, socially conscious fantasy. She envisions our world as a mysterious, morally ambiguous wilderness populated by angels, skeletons, and emotionally complex mortals.

This exhibition is made possible by Jean E. Rolles.

Support also provided by The Robert F. Lange Foundation.