Bizarre photo collages are foremost in the oeuvre of Toshiko Okanoue, an avant-garde artist who enjoyed a peak of activity in the 1950s before she gave art a backseat to her family life.

"Toshiko Okanoue, Photo Collage: The Miracle of Silence" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum provides a thorough introduction to Okanoue's various areas of creativity. This is only the artist's second solo show in a major public museum in Japan. It follows, but is more complete than, an exhibition last year at the Museum of Art Kochi, in her hometown.

Okanoue was interested in fashion as a child and later went on to study design at Bunka Gakuin, a Tokyo college, in 1950. She stumbled upon the creative potential of collage when she noticed the cut-out shape of a woman's head on her desk, after snipping out pictures of dresses from models in magazines. In some works the human face, usually a woman's, is kept intact, but other parts of the body, particularly legs, are invariably fragmented and transformed. In "A Rut" (1951), a woman's torso merges with a wheel, and her leg transforms into that of an animal, perhaps a horse. Early works of this type are strikingly graphic and stark, with various photographic elements from magazines (often Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and Life) pasted against a plain backdrop.