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