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“After Misako Oba left a successful career as a broadcaster for Japanese television in Japan and New York, following some personal hardships in Japan, she moved to New York and began anew as a photographic artist. Oba’s early work, in the series “El Camino” and “Fireflies,” showed idiosyncratic interpretations in a mysterious and partly abstract manner of such cities as Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, and New York. The work was just gaining critical interest when her progress was interrupted by a new personal tragedy in 2006—the discovery that she had the very rare medical condition A.V.M. (Arterio-Venous Malformation) in the pinkie of her right hand. Heavy spontaneous bleeding and several failed medical procedures lead to the dreaded decision to undergo an amputation in the U.S. without the presence of her family, who were in Japan.
Her project FAUSTUS, dealing with this personal struggle to come to an understanding and acceptance of a rare medical condition that struck her unexpectedly, clearly shows her power of turning these horrific events into a stunning art project of universal application. This work is personal but universal, a drama exploring the most basic of human tales—facing fear and “loss” with courage. Had she not been an artist of exceptional ability and courage, this trauma would have remained known only to herself and circle of close friends and family. Instead it stands as a visible monument to a human spiritual journey, an X-ray of a young woman’s soul. I believe that all of her art reflects, to a degree few artists can match, a clear-eyed appraisal of the conditions of her emotions and her soul. Her work is uniquely passionate and engaging.
The self-portraits work might be compared to Francesca Woodman’s and Cindy Sherman’s quest for an alternate identity. In Oba’s case, one sees the perseverance of a loving spirit, and a validation of the eternal beauty of the female persona. [……]”
Quote from Afterword of [FAUSTUS] by Gary Edwards,
Gary Edwards Gallery