Mary Hamilton, 2022, 120cm x 150cm x 15cm. Oil on canvas with Glade lavender air fresheners.
Marie Antoinette, 2023, 55cm x 70cm x 3cm. Oil on canvas
Mary Anning, 2023, 120cm x 170cm x 5cm. Oil and enamel on canvas
In this series Bex Massey aims to discuss the erasure of lesbian identities. Historically women haven’t been privy to the same education as their male counterparts, and as such these narratives have been naturally eroded. In ‘There’s something about Mary’ Massey will hone this investigation into the lives of Queer Mary’s. In so doing she hopes to shine a light on the overlooked lives of the past and question whether more can be done to ensure visibility for those in the present.
This series will be ever evolving as Massey discovers more Mary’s – to date she has captured Mary Hamilton, Mary Anning and Marie Antoinette in paint. She is presently researching the lives of Mary ‘Mamie’ Burrill, Mary Blathwayt, Mary Punjer, Marie Souvestre, Mary Read, Mary Robinson & Marie Therese. Canvas based on these histories will develop throughout the year.
Lesbian voices are not the most forthcoming and as (LGBTQIA+ history is highly underrepresented in curriculum) such an inordinate number of hours go into finding these women. Despite this time contingent ten Mary’s have already been located, and more will be unearthed. If this is how many historical Queer ‘Mary’s’ there are at such an early stage of this project – we can only imagine the sum total of historical Queer Women in general there really were. ‘There’s something about Mary’ is indicative of how the far rights call to put a stop to ‘The Gay Agenda’ as homosexuals are a ‘new breed’ is one of many misguided sentiments.
*it is also pertinent to add that in present society some/all of these women may identify outside of the female binary or lesbian status. I am using pronouns and more linear thinking from the era to describe their Queer lives for ease – as we will never really know their authentic selves due to poor education and illegality of homosexuality creating little to no records.