In this exhibition, Terry Barber continues to explore her long-standing interest in hands and the information and emotions that can be conveyed through simple representations of them. Young or old, relaxed or anxious, tender or aloof, giving or taking, hands can tell a story without words.
The skin is our largest sensory organ, and touch is believed to be the first sense we acquire. During the pandemic, ’skin hunger’, or ‘touch deprivation’ became a concern as physical contact became something to avoid or guard against, and so the importance of our basic need for the human touch became apparent. When there is little else you can do for someone, holding hands and touching is a simple but instinctive way to provide comfort. The hands in Terry’s drawings and collages are those of her mother during her final months, her daughter and herself. The three of them spent the whole of this sad but precious time together, and she describes the act of drawing, painting and stitching ‘touching scenes’ from the sketches she made at her mother’s bedside as a way of remembering those moments and keeping in touch. The conversation continues, and incorporating sketches from photos of her as a baby and child represents the beginning and end of her life in the same house.
Terry works across painting, collage, sculpture, printmaking, installation and animation, often taking inspiration from pareidolia, found objects, non-traditional materials, myths and stories. Having previously worked as a journalist, she now concentrates on her studio practice.