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Femina feminus

By  Hayley Lock 2024

Focussing on intimate, seductive and often sexualised scenes depicted in medieval literature Witch Marks speaks to female bodies and bodies of water as sites to perform acts of prolific persecution, charging the world with supernatural sensualities and properties attuned to medieval witch hunt pamphlets and plays distributed in fifteenth and sixteenth century England. Looking closely at stories of witchcraft practices where people, particularly women, held a perceived facility for collaborating with invisible forces of nature, Hayley has looked to tableaux vivants and medieval illuminated manuscripts where silent, still and distanced performers have been used as a route to represent religious and artistic scenes of terror, collective witnessing, and oppression. Bindings seen in both Witch swimming and Femina Feminus speak to incantations, curses and ritual spells, popular in medieval magical practices, pointing to the complex discourse around sexuality, female erotic pleasure and women’s sexual anatomy in the early modern period.

Femina Feminus, coloured pencil on fabriano sheets, 91cms h x 95.5cms w framed (conservation glass), 2024

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