Making History

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Jeff Bailey, NY
Making History

127 Warren Street Hudson
12534 New York
May 29th, 2008 - July 3rd, 2008
Opening: May 29th, 2008 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Thu-Sun 12-6 and by appointment


Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to announce Making History, a group exhibition curated by Yaelle Amir and featuring the work of seven artists: Paolo Arao, A.J. Bocchino, Ramak Fazel, Shaun O'Dell, Sarah Trigg, Anna Von Mertens and Martin Wilner.

With the general election rapidly approaching, the country's rhetoric has shifted to express a need for departure from its previous ways. Making History revisits the narratives upon which our nation was founded, and reflects on what it has ultimately become. Deriving their inspiration from history books, newspapers, and firsthand experiences, the seven participating artists have crafted novel portrayals of widely known events, ranging from as far back as the Gold Rush to the recent violent acts at Virginia Tech. Viewed collectively, the exhibition paints an increasingly grim picture of the state of our nation-inundated with violence and hostility, and a value system gone awry.

Paolo Arao's series of bullet hole portraits, Night, reflects on the violent acts that have become increasingly prevalent in our country, such as the Sean Bell murder and various mall and college shootings. Rather than maintaining a removed perspective from the implied event, Arao incorporates the frame's reflective plexi into the concept of the work itself-thus forcing the spectator to physically become an integral part of the crime scene.

A.J. Bocchino creates prints of newspaper headlines and images culled from a process of archiving. In Washington Post (1975) [2007] he collected every headline that was published in the Washington Post in the pivotal year of 1975. He then color-coded them according to subject matter, consequently mapping the national concerns throughout this historic year.

For his Philatexploitation project (2006), Ramak Fazel traveled through 49 of the 50 State Capitols to gain a more profound understanding of his country's history. Utilizing a childhood stamp collection, Fazel created collages in each state based on local historical narratives, of which he learned at the local library. When the collage was complete, he mailed it to his next destination by General Delivery and set forth on his journey.

At the core of Shaun O'Dell's drawings is the recognition that Americans have defined and recharged their sense of national self throughout history by inflicting violence on nature and its inhabitants. Composed of his personal iconography, Westward: The Corpse of Empire Takes its Way (2005) depicts O'Dell's reflection on the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which was founded in New Mexico by Robert Oppenheimer during WWII in order to develop the first nuclear weapons.

Sarah Trigg begins her paintings at random, by selecting a particular date and researching which events had occurred on that day. Atlantis-Atlantastan (2007) presents a composite of several seemingly unrelated episodes, including the launch of the Atlantis spacecraft, a discovery of mass gravesites in Afghanistan, and a story about an Atlanta suburb. Each narrative blends into the next, while together they depict a rapid evolution of our local landscape.

In her stitched works on fabric, Anna Von Mertens translates scientific data into abstract embroidered designs, by putting to use a computer program that calculates the star rotation patterns at dawn or dusk on the days of crucial historical moments. Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!" (Sunset, January 24, 1848, Sutter's Mill, Coloma, California) [2008] captures the initial moments of the California Gold Rush-showing the stars coming into view on the evening gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California, against a saturated background mimicking Hollywood's cliché conclusion of riding into the sunset.

Every day, Martin Wilner mines the pages of the daily newspaper in search of a headline and image to add to his ongoing monthly calendar drawing series, Making History. Each month marks the beginning of a new drawing, as each day brings about a new addition to the work. The daily occurrences thus shape the form and content of the drawing, expressing both Wilner's personal interests as well as the events transpiring around the world. By the end of the month, Wilner has curated a highly intricate mapping of recent national and global agendas.


Paolo Arao received his BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2000 and is a 2005 recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. His work has been exhibited in group shows in New York at The Drawing Center, the Bronx Museum for the Arts (AIM 2001), Socrates Sculpture Park and Sculpture Center. Arao has had two solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery. He lives and works in New York.

A.J. Bocchino's work has been featured in exhibitions at Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, DC; White Columns, New York, NY; International Print Center, New York, NY; Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY and the Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin, TX. He received his MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. Bocchino was admitted into the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program in 2005 and was a resident artist at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in 2003. He lives and works in New York.

Ramak Fazel graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering before moving to New York to study photography and graphic design. Since 2006, he has taught at the Italian Institute for Photography in Milan. His recent solo exhibition, 49 State Capitols, at the Storefront for Art and Architecure, was reviewed in Artforum and featured in The New York Times. Fazel lives and works in Milan, Italy.

Shaun O'Dell's work has been exhibited at many venues, including Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY and Whitebox, New York, NY. O'Dell received his MFA from Stanford University. He is the recipient of the 2005 Artadia Award, 2004 SECA Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and a 2002 Fleishhacker Foundation Award. He currently teaches at University of California, Berkeley and California College of the Arts. He lives in San Francisco.

Sarah Trigg's paintings are currently on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Pierogi 2000 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY and Lehman Maupin, New York, NY. Trigg received her BFA from the Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art and Planning. She lives and works in New York.

Anna Von Mertens received a BFA from Brown University in 1995 and an MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 2000. She has had solo exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco; the Berkley Art Museum, Berkley, CA; Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, NY. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco and ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, NY. She lives and works in Berkley, California.

Martin Wilner has participated in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S. and internationally, including Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, NY; James Cohan Gallery, New York NY and Artnews Projects Berlin, Germany. He lives and works in New York.

For further information or images, please contact the gallery at 212.989.0156 or