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Exhibit | Imagined Identities: An Illustrated Portrait Series of Women Who Never Were


Sunday June 11, 2023: 10:00am to Friday August 4, 2023: 8:00pm


Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit


This exhibit by Laura Cavanagh includes a collection of Queenies: or whimsical portraits of imagined personas, each framed in a one-of-a-kind vintage frame. Each work begins as a detailed pen and ink portrait of a full-body figure into which Cavanagh collages vintage papers and ephemera to give the figure a wholly unique, individual appearance. The final piece includes hand stitching, French knot embellishments and a personaIized (and imaginary) biography. 

The Queenies are inspired by Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th/19th century portrait painting. Found vintage paper materials and other ephemera are added to the intricate drawings as a way to further incorporate elements of the past as well as to add Cavanagh’s own innate curiosity and sense of humor. The visage of each Queenie is, in many ways, a portrait of Cavanagh, and her varying moods, emotions and general spirit on any given day.

Laura Cavanagh is a 2-D mixed media artist living and working in Southeast Michigan. She works primarily with pen and ink, oil/soft pastels, and vintage paper ephemera. 

She hopes that the Queenies' presence in a library space will be an opportunity for library patrons to learn about aspects of history--food, fashion, pastimes--present in the Queenie portraits and which of those are factual and which are creative whimsy.