“Troubles at Home”
By Michelle Rogers
Track 16,Santa Monica,
March 16-April17 2007
. .” We had fed the heart on
fantasies, The heart's grown brutal from
the fare, More substance in our
enmities Than in our love. .”
The Stare's Nest by William Butler Yeats
There is a sense of quiet bewilderment and loss in this collection of paintings, which reflect upon the very
divisive concept of patriotism. Rogers draws comparisons between her own experiences growing up on the
border of Northern Ireland during the most violent years of the troubles, and America’s vulnerability post-
After the attacks on 9/11, Americans became defiantly patriotic - flags started appearing in apartment
windows, building lobbies, t-shirts and stickers. Seeking guidance and reassurance, the wounded nation
rallied behind the government, trusting in its leadership and authority. What they did not expect was for
their government to manipulate that trust, and destroy the American ideal in the process, in ways even its
enemies could not have predicted: the surreptitious Patriot Act; the war in Iraq; Guantanamo Bay; Abu
Ghraib . . . Suddenly, many Americans weren’t feeling quite so proud.
This resonated with Michelle. “As an Irish woman, I love my country too. But during the “troubles” in
Ireland it angered me to see how that love became usurped, and then tarnished by violence committed in
In response to questions of national identity and religious idealism, Michelle has created a series of large-
scale oil paintings for ‘Troubles At Home’. The thickly painted canvases seem to trap their unsuspecting
figures, and at once detach and isolate them from their surroundings. They are painted in strong shadow,
sometimes with a searing light surrounding them denoting a strong psychological conflict
To tour the exhibition quot;Troubles at Homequot; which examines American patriotism at this crucial time.
I believe this exhibition offers an unique vision of a country still reeling emotionally from 9/11 and offers a
heartfelt plea to avoid the mistakes we Irish made in the pursuit of national ideals .
By doing this exhibition I want people to reﬂect deeply on what is happening in America right now and to be
aware of the underlying emotions that are fueling dangerous political developments that essentially concern
the wider world.
quot;Troubles at Home” was exhibited at the Track 16 gallery at Bergamot Station in Los Angelus in March/April
2007.The critical and public response was extremely positive.The exhibition is a purposely thought provoking
experience rather than an hysterical reactive one .
http://www.track16.com/exhibitions/michelle_rogers/index.html to view show
The exhibition was supported by funding from the Irish Government
Proposal to enlarge exhibition for the Smithsonian
I have been working on the theme of war for the last 15 years
It could be possible to incorporate large scale paintings from the
First Gulf war
The Bosnian conﬂict
9/11 memorial and portraits
In this manner you could develop a “War Cycle “exhibition
I am currently discussing plans to take” War Cycle” to Dubai in 2009,which could be an interesting and
balanced cultural exchange
Michelle Rogers grew up in a small-industrialized town in Ireland called Dundalk on the
strained border between North and the South, at the height of the troubles. As an artist,
although it inspired her, she chose not to dwell initially on the conflict so close to home.
Her earliest paintings centered on the Gulf War, and it was in response to this work that
Amnesty International selected her to go to Bosnia in 1993. This trip was the impetus for a
Dark Heart an impressive series of paintings about the darker side of human nature in
which, according to Nicholas Bergman, curator at New York’s Caelum Gallery “she
sensitively creates a mood of moral decay, of spiritual darkness and despair, there is,
simultaneously, a grandeur to the work, which, harks back to the masters - Goya in
In 2002 Rogers was invited to show her painting 911 Memorial at the Irish Arts Center in
New York. In 2005, A Dark Heart was selected for exhibition at the UN Plaza in New York,
marking the 10th anniversary of the Balkan war, and last year her critically acclaimed series
Transformations 1, 2 and 3 exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Guadalajara,
Mexico. She was recently invited to exhibit “Lampedusa” a painting about immigration at
St Georges church in Venice during the opening weeks of the Venice Biennale.
Without question, Rogers is unique among Irish artists, in that her work is hard-hitting and
confrontational, dealing with tough subject matters such as war, emigration and sexual
She currently divides her time between Rome, New York and Dublin
“Freedom Road”, 2007 oil on canvas 72 x 112 in.