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Director's Statement

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"The Book of Zero Series" Online Gallery

"The Book of Zero Series" April 2004

"Mapping of Memory" September 2001

"Inside the Lotus Seed" April 1999

"Rat Fest: an Art Installation" October 1998

"The Art of the New Generation" September 1997

"Alienation Series" April 1995

"The Stanford Series: Drawings" September 1992

"Reflections of Things at Hand II and III" April 1991

"The Book of Zero Series"
The Richard L. Nelson Gallery, Davis, CA.
April 2004

My first attempt at a cross-disciplinary approach in art originated two years ago with the Book of Zero Series. Inspired by the mathematical and philosophical concepts of zero, the series of artworks reiterates the image of a circle, or the figure zero, as a symbol that represents nothing yet also stands as the source of primary energy and aspects of memory in the flow of time between what has passed and that which is present.

In this series of paintings and projects layers of partially obscured collage, hidden words, chiseled marks, and images, recede from within the zero to form a background tapestry of recollections. The encaustic medium imparts an opaque interior luminosity, an allusion to memory, while contrasts in material and visual tension create presence and place on the surface.

The zero is a lens through which a view of the contemporary world may be evoked. The number zero is a metaphor through which I see the burden of suffering as unequally distributed. I see the daily struggles of the uncounted population, the gap between the affluent and the poor, disparities between voice and silence, the pain and suffering of the " zero people" - the erosion of dignity and freedom by war and violence, the loss of cultural memory to the advancement of aggressors, notions of gain without the measurement of loss.

This installation honors those who have sacrificed their lives for the survival of others, martyrs who care for the poor at their own expense, for the resilience of the heart in the face of danger.

The Book of Zero Series is further inspired by Mencius essay on “flood-like ch'i" -
It is difficult to explain. This is a ch’i which is, in the highest degree, vast and unyielding. Nourish it with integrity and place no obstacle in its path and it will fill the space between Heaven and Earth. It is ch’i which unites rightness and the Way. Deprive it of these and it will collapse. It is born of accumulated rightness and cannot be appropriated by anyone through a sporadic show of rightness...(L.C. Lai, 57)

Brenda Louie
March 2004

My special thanks to Kyle LeMoi, lighting designer, for his expertise, knowledge and time in technical and lighting design for the installation; to Ben Diller and Jemima Harr at The Richard L. Nelson Gallery for their assistance.

© Brenda Louie 2010