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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

Brenda Louie
The Book of Zero Series - recent paintings and projects

Brenda Louie's fascination with the number zero as subject matter in visual art corresponds with a general rise of interest in measurement and calculation as conventional forms of valuation. The Book of Zero Series is an ongoing project that engages the circular figure of zero as the artist's source of imagery, inspiration, and as inquiry into a conundrum. While the arithmetical symbol of zero denotes an absence of quantity, or a calibration by which the notion of nothing can be marked, Louie sees zero as a point of departure for the equivocation of memory and experience in paintings, painted silkscreen prints, and sculpture.

Zero as a symbol and a figure in measurement represents a qualitative advancement in the mind's capacity for abstraction. Louie's zero is prescient to a timely obsession with numerical calculations of loss and gain, a value system of inclusion and exclusion, and zero-sum situations. Her expressively visceral work, often evocative of biological diagrams and cosmological maps, expands the mind's grasp of scale and detail. The series emphasizes the equivalence in the artist's work between drawing and painting, the tensions between abstraction and representation, and content that is reflective yet universal in its scope.

Louie recognizes the figure zero as a lens through which hindsight and forethought pass. She links the recession of events into memory against the advancement of present-day occurrences in Book of Zero Series #2004, 1-80, a matrix of paintings in sequence of burnt black circles and, hot red tones. The artist looks into lyrical and functional aspects of the symbol subjectively, and philosophically, as a means to record the fluidity of personal memories against shifts in social values through time. Her use of a zero as a graphic device, and as a method of counting, forms contour maps in the continuity between distant memories and immediate perceptions.

Robert R. Riley, Director
Richard L. Nelson Gallery & The Fine Arts Collection

Brenda Louie was born in a village of Toi Shan in the Canton province of southern China. She traveled to Hong Kong with members of her family in 1961 and emigrated to the United States from there in 1972. The artist currently lives and works in Sacramento.

© Brenda Louie 2010