Depicting the Invisible

Veterans Suffering from PTSD

February 15, 2018 - June, 2018
Displayed throughout The Club

A portrait series illuminating veteran experiences, which sensitively explores the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the armed forces.

Update, January 2021: Depicting the Invisible has been made into a documentary, winner of Best Documentary Short at the New York City TV Festival (NYCTVF). The documentary is available free online (duration: 15 minutes). Watch it here.

The Army and Navy Club Library Trust is proud to present Depicting the Invisible, a portrait series featuring American military veterans who have survived the hazards of war and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To create the series, artist Susan J. Barron spent months building relationships and conducting interviews with her subjects. She then painted their own words over large-scale, canvas-printed photographic portraits that she took. Staring into the camera, these veterans display both their strength and vulnerability. The elegance of each image is juxtaposed against the brutality of its narrative, revealing complex layers of meaning.

Barron’s intention is to illuminate veteran 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.”

The works capture the experience of PTSD through an intimate lens, instilling veterans with dignity while fostering a deeper understanding of this condition. This important series brings much-needed awareness to the triumphs and challenges facing our combat veterans today. It is the hope of the Army and Navy Club Library Trust that all who see this show will be inspired to make a difference in the veteran community.

Barron’s interactive art installation, A Table for the Fallen, is also on view in The Club (level B2). There, visitors are invited to sit at a table and honor a fallen soldier with a personal tribute. A video camera will record each guest’s experience, and Barron will later use the footage to compose a video work.