Helen Barff, a London based sculptor, has explored ‘safe spaces’ from World War 2 pillboxes to imagined places of refuge. She has been working with the cross-generational communities of Somerset to present this inspirational and emotional show opening for this year’s Somerset Art Weeks Festival (24 Sept – 9 Oct 2022).
In this time of human conflict and widespread environmental destruction, there is a glimmer of hope in the work of Helen Barff. Evidenced by intriguing, thought provoking castings and drawings, that speak of emptiness and remnants of memory. The show will reflect humanitarian issues. Identifying the power of the human spirit to prevail.
Mapping her way through a journey spanning from Close Ltd in Hatch Beauchamp and the Brewhouse in Taunton. This cross-sited exhibition will present her installations with drawing, needlework, sculpture, alongside historical findings derived from interviews and conversations which inform the subject and stories.
Barff will describe a fantasy inside our heads and outside our bodies. She will be taking interested parties on her mapped out pathways and further adding to her store of memories that may indeed inform her new body of work.
Our hope is that this exhibition creates a dialogue for communication and a voice for the unsaid and unspoken. The title of the show is I Wrap My Fear Around Me Like A Blanket. This comes from the lyrics of a song ‘Closer to Fine’ by the Indigo Girls. We can find solace in the unstitched wrapping of fear, emptied of stuffing. A metaphor for what is lost.
Barff’s work speaks for itself, it communicates from the inside out. Her still, knowing the objects have a story to tell us. Painted in soft pinks, white and yellows, we discover new things and possibilities. We strive and hope.
Alongside her exhibition, Barff invites people from the local community, artists, an historian and psychologist to discuss themes around safe refuge. Elders will share WWII stories, young people imagine an ideal den, and Helen discusses local memories and making work with Somerset artist Brian Rice.
Listen to the I Wrap My Fear Around Me Like A Blanket – Audio Stories here:
Opening Times at Taunton Brewhouse:
Monday – Friday | 10am – 4pm
Weekends and evenings | During theatre performances
Opening Times at Close Ltd.:
Open during Somerset Art Weeks then by appointment from 10 Oct.
Close Ltd., Hatch Beauchamp, Taunton, TA3 6AE
This show has been curated by Close Ltd. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England