'Heretic' is a new body of oil paintings on canvas and linen focused on heresy, accused 'witches', and the pathologization of female expression of emotion, appearance and behaviour.
From infamous names, such as the Bideford Witches, to lesser known wives, mothers and children of sweeping witchtrials and religious persecution, my portraits aim to give agency, telling, in the first person, the stories of women who have been much maligned by historical record.
Guided by historical documents, I attempt to bring the executed women to life, and, hold propagandist records and testimony to account. By challenging the notion of their existance as aged, physically disfigured 'wicked livers', I paint portraits of accused witches as they may have been in their youth, or how they were seen by those who loved them.
Heretic seeks to understand the common ground between women who were executed for beliefs they were said to hold but did not, and for beliefs they held and refused to recant. I examine the ugly practice of women being martyred for wider political gain in times of national crises, suffering and social and political unrest.
Below are a selection of portraits of accused witches, heretics and martyrs
1. Williford, Carriden, Hott
2. Unnamed Woman of Seaton Sluice
3. Demdyke & Tibb
4. Patienta, Tolerantia (which depicts the seven female saints of the Cannon of the Mass, defying their traditional depictions, in a utopian setting)