Over 10% of military families live below the poverty line and an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day in our country. These statistics compelled Susan J. Barron to help highlight the veteran community through her artwork.
In her one-person exhibition “Depicting the Invisible”, at HG Contemporary, 527 West 23rd Street, New York, NY, through November 26, Barron shines a spotlight on 13 American veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her oversized black-and-white photographic portraits are painted with the survivors’ stories of trauma of war or terrors in their own words, as shared with Barron.
One work depicts Corporal Burke with his dog as he recounts the horrors of war: “When I got back from Iraq, I’d have this one recurring nightmare — I had to watch my buddy die.” He notes that he was united with his service dog after his second suicide attempt. In another work, Sergeant Carter sits in a wheelchair and reflects: “I’m paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of my life. I spent 16 months in a VA hospital, and I saw that it could be so much worse.” In the portrait of Sergeant Trotter the story of her rape by a star soldier captures the intersection of military sexual assault and the #MeToo movement.
Barron’s intent is not to deify the veterans but to illuminate their experiences and to initiate a conversation around the sensitive issue of PTSD. “Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day in our country,” says Barron. “The invisible wounds of war are just as devastating as the visible ones. My mission is to bring awareness to the PTSD epidemic and to provide a platform for veterans to share their stories.”
An important dimension of this exhibition is an interactive work “A Table for the Fallen”, which invites visitors to sit at a table for one and create a personal tribute to a fallen soldier whom they wish to honor. Susan is going to then compose a video piece compiling everyone’s tributes.
Proceeds From Her Book Will Support Veteran’s Causes
During the exhibition Barron is selling her coffee table book comprised of the portrait series. The proceeds will benefit organizations that support veterans’ causes. The exhibition will also toast Services for the Underserved, an organization that supports veterans in their struggles with PTSD and mental health and has graciously voiced their enthusiasm for this exhibition.
It is the artist’s hope that the veterans who generously participated in this project will find the telling of their stories cathartic, and feel they are making a difference by giving back.
About Susan J. Barron
Susan J. Barron is a nationally recognized and internationally collected artist. Her paintings, both figurative and politically motivated, have been shown in galleries from San Francisco to New York. She has had solo shows throughout the United States and her work has been featured on Fox 5 News, New York One, The New York Daily News, and Metro. A graduate of Boston University, she studied art at the Art Institute of San Francisco and Yale School for the Arts.
After a diverse career in advertising, marketing and branding, Barron founded The Pencil Promise in 2009 following a trip to Cambodia that changed her life. Witnessing firsthand the barriers to education that children in the third world face, she was inspired to create a company that would help make education available for children in need. With Barron as CEO, the company brought work programs and school supplies to Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, India, and Cuba through 2017.
Visit: Susan J Barron’s website at http://www.SusanJBarron.com.