b. sakata garo

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April 25,1999
Art Review

Is Modernism Really Dead?
Three artists made strong statements with their painterly abstractions
By Victoria Dalkey, Bee Art Correspondent, The Sacramento Bee

In an era when we are suposed to have seen the death of painting and the end of modernism, it is a surprise to find three exhibitions by artists deeply engaged in the making of painterly abstractions.
    ...Motifs that reflect her Chinese heritage inform Brenda Louie's compelling paintings at b. sakata garo. These richly textured works, some combining plaster and wax with oil paints, focus on Zen circles and lotus seeds.
    In "The Eight Return Series," circles and spheres placed on a loose grid suggest targets, eyes and planets in their orbits. Richly rendered in intense hues of black, red and amber, they are underlaid with fragments of Chinese and English texts that suggest submerged narratives.
    Eyelike orbs and fragments of text also appear in an immense teardrop-shaped form under a rain of fire in a work from "The Lotus Seed Series." A huge sphere, sun or moon, with a smaller sphere at its center from which a spiral radiates, is the central image in a work from "Map of the Lotus Hearth Series," which also includes an image of the Buddha's hands.
&Nbsp   Departing from the somber tone of her other works, the pieces in the "Lotus Land Series" writhe with slashes and dashes of radiant color. The central image is a kind of abstracted urn or vessel from which bubbles of bright yellow and white rise up. In "Lotus Land Series 1999-02," the vessels seems to dissolve, leaving a bright blue wishbone shape that floats on a sea of intense, luminous, painterly marks that suggest an exploding universe...