Company Sergeant Gary Madden, 2018
Oil on canvas, 140 x 140 cm
‘Many men and women who have served in military forces have experienced levels of intensity and trauma which is unique to their field of work. In advance of this work I spoke to numerous veterans about their experiences and found that in many cases their journey can often be loaded with extremes, ranging from close camaraderie, teamwork and togetherness to months separated from family and loved ones, witnessing death first-hand and the loss of team members and friends. My work draws a cross-section through the lives of these people in the aftermath of their service and considers the personal impact their experiences have had on them.
Many who have been deployed or retired from the armed forces find it incredibly difficult to acclimatise to civilian life. Among the difficulties commonly encountered are post traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, deterioration of marital/significant other relationships, and finding employment. While some soldiers are rightly venerated as heroes for their bravery in defending their country, behind closed doors many live with scars left from their service.’
Kyle Barnes (b.1986) is from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone and is currently living and working in Southampton. He has won the Towry prize at the National Open Art Competition and exhibited at the prestigious Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. He also received the Young Artist Award and the People’s Choice Award at the Royal Ulster Academy. In 2015 he was awarded the Tyrone Guthrie Residency and 2017 the Whyte’s Award in 2017 at the Royal Hibernian Academy. His work is represented in many private and public collections, including the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland.