Our Cosmetic Case, 2002

For this piece, I chose only illustrations of non-white, non-black women on products in our society. These images become complicated for me because at the same time that I try to identify with these images, I resent having to compare myself to them. The compacts demonstrate the comparison made between one’s reflection and the illustration on the mirror. When applying makeup, one has the always-already image in mind that one is striving towards, or the option is not to be the always-already. In either case, we still have to deal with the image. For non-white, non-black women, the range of possible images or illustrations with which to compare ourselves is very narrow, unless you take into consideration news images of Iraq, Iran, and Korea.

Blood Read, 1997-1998

Each of the sixteen bottles is hand-etched with a blood term, inside are reproductions (Polariod lifts) of family photographs. There is reading and misreading of the worlds in conjunction with the images; for example, the term “red blooded” over the image of an Asian boy in a U.S sailor suit,. The relationship of words to images is sometimes contradictory, sometimes odd, and sometimes descriptive, such as “half blood” over the image of a baby.

Collecting the “Orient” series, 1996

These photographs were taken at the Yaddo winter houses. The houses are filled with objects that represents good examples of the 19th century’s fascination with the “Orient” and things “exotic”. Superimposed over the photographs (toned cyanotypes) are copies from the 1940s comic books of “The Dragon Lady” or other “dangerous” females. Interestingly enough, the “The Dragon Lady” was already an intermixture of cultures from her Middle Eastern harem veil to her Chinese dragon headdress.

Japanese American Vampire Correspondence, 1995

Vintage postcards from a summer resort in Maine, become correspondence from a vacationing Japanese American vampire with other JA vampires back home in NYC. Here “otherness” is examined by combining two culturally constructed “others”–vampires and Japanese Americans. The text invokes Bram Stroker’s Dracula travelogue and 19th century rhetoric.

Invisible Women, 1998

The difficult-to-see Polaroid lifts and copy transfers duplicate the Asian American woman’s historic lack of visibility in American Popular culture.

Alien Nation, 1991

The text defines terms like alien within botany, while repeating the word alien from government documents. The small boxes label plants culturally, such as apples as Italian American, or Gladiolus as South African American and give immigration dates when appropriate, highlighting the act of categorization by botanists and governments alike.

Imagire received her BFA in Photography from the University of New Hampshire in 1985, and her MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990. She has had many solo exhibitions, including Mixed-Blood Garments and Books at the Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm College (Manchester, NH) and We, the Mixed Blood at the University of Rhode Island. In addition, she has appeared in numerous group exhibitions, such as Siona Benjamin & Dorothy Imagire at the Widener Gallery at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), 100 Years of Photography: Personal Visions of the 20th Century at the Discovery Museum (Bridgeport, CT), Fermented, Godzilla, at the Arnold and Sheila Aronsom Galleries at Parsons School of Design (NYC), Picturing Asian America, which appeared at Arlington Museum of Art in Texas, Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA, ands Houston Center for Photography’s FotoFest. She has been included in Lucy Lippard’s The Lure of the Local (The New Press), and has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including the New Forms Regional Initiative Award from the New England Foundation/National Endowment for the Arts in 1991-1992. She has also participated in many residencies, including Surdna Foundation Lecture Series at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Yaddo in Saratoga, NY. Imagire is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Dorothy Imagire was an artist in resident at CPW in June 2002.