Helen barff pillbox landscape
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, these two cross-sited exhibitions 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 to inform her new body of work.

Soft and hard sculptures built upon past works by Barff, that used clothing as a stand-in for the human condition. To some extent they have an element of humour, like armour, pointy and dangerous. The title of the show is reiterated in words and repeated over and over; blanket – wrap – fear – safety.

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 objects have a story to tell us. Cast in soft pinks, white and yellows, we discover new things and possibilities. We strive and hope.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

- Close Ltd: Open during Somerset Art Weeks then by appointment from 10 Oct

- Taunton Brewhouse: Open Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm & weekends during theatre performances