School of Arts & Humanities
Pamela Golden was born in Chicago and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Golden often integrates her own cross-cultural referencing into the work. She has exhibited extensively for over 20 years throughout Europe and America. Golden is a Senior Tutor in Painting in the School of Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art.
Born in a crossfire hurricane in Chicago, Illinois, Golden has lived and worked in the UK since 1989. After completing her BFA at Northern Illinois University in 1981, she completed an MFA in Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago alongside the Art History Certificate Program in 1984. In 2014 she gained a Certificate of Botanical Art from The English Gardening School. Golden’s extensive world-wide exhibitions include a solo show at the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, in 2004.
Growing up in Chicago, Pamela Golden was deeply influenced by the wealth of stimuli of the city. There she completed an MFA in Painting alongside film history at the School of the Art Institute when the school was still physically part of the museum. In 1989 she moved to the United Kingdom, often integrating her own cross-cultural referencing into the work. With a world increasingly reliant on the possibilities of digital manipulation, the most ethical solution she has been able to achieve has been to revisit and rework photography through painting. The transformation is about time and engagement with the image.Show more
Golden’s practice involves reimagining absent or potential histories suggested by the source materials, explores generational relationships with imagery and visual culture, considering how associations adapt and alter over time. She reimagines found photographs and illustrations to embody an interrelation between past and present, filling in gaps to generate a strong sense of narrative. This most often takes form in paintings but stretches to films, drawings and music albums. The technical method a type of mash up holding true to each medium.
Golden overpaints the photograph with dry watercolour through an old technique used for botanical miniatures. This process of painting brings subjectivity back to the photographic image; there is manipulation, of course, but it is far removed from a digital strategy. The image is ‘regained’ through this engagement. If photography’s earliest debt was to painting, she wishes to explore how painting may now be reinvested through an ideological reflection upon photography.
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Solo ExhibitionsShow more
2015 Charlie Don’t Surf, Marlborough Contemporary, London
2014 Good Morning! Mister Williams., Marlborough Contemporary, London
2013 Auction Paintings, World Legend, Lisbon
2008 Love and Hysteria, Tate Britain, London
2007–2008 Love and Hysteria, Fondacion Elektra, Paris
2017 Fazer Sentido, Casa da Cerca, Almada
2017 Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Contemporary, London
2015 “I never thought I´d see you again” Painting History, Marlborough Contemporary, London
2013 Cowboy Style, Marlborough Contemporary, London More than I Dare to Think About, Marlborough Contemporary, London
2012 A Sort of Night to the Mind, A Kind Of Night For Our Thoughts, Illusion and Materiality in Contemporary Painting, Artary Gallery, Stuttgart
2011 Biennial, The Drawing Room, London A Sort of Night to the Mind, A Kind Of Night For Our Thoughts, Illusion and Materiality in Contemporary Painting
2011 Arch 402, London Print Fair, Karsten Schubert Gallery at the Royal Academy
2010 Abstraction and the Human Figure in CAM’s British Art Collection, Fundacao Calauste Gulbenkian, Lisbon
2009 A Sort of Night to the Mind, A Kind Of Night For Our Thoughts, Illusion and Materiality in Contemporary Painting, Herbert Read Gallery, University of Canterbury, Kent
Charlie Don’t Surf (2015) London: Marlborough Contemporary (Book)
Good Morning! Mister Williams. (2014) London: Marlborough Contemporary (Book and Record album)
Awards and Grants
Akerman/Daly –Flash 500 commission for publication
Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant is awarded internationally to those individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.Smithsonian Institution Journal of American Art Archives – commission for work for their journal, which seeks to enrich our understanding of art history and visual culture by publishing original research based in part on the vast holdings of the Archives of American Art. It aims to showcase new approaches and out-of-the-box thinking about primary sources.
Golden’s practice often involves her re-imagining absent or potential histories suggested by the source materials, filling in gaps to generate a strong sense of narrative.
Current and recent research
2016 Current Research
Happiness must be earned (working title), looking at Bagdad, The Thief of Bagdad and bombing soundtracks to produce a series of paintings and an album, the second for Golden's record label, Golden Pleasure Music, which is in the works.
Foxfire, a series of works that will form a kind of mash up, starting with looking at links between bioluminescent mushrooms, their powerful cell structure, and astrophysics research focusing on exploring the fundamental structure of the universe.
2015 Charlie Don’t Surf
Charlie Don’t Surf explores generational relationships with imagery and visual culture, considering how associations adapt and alter over time. In a departure from the miniature paintings in oil and encaustic Golden is best known for, large-scale sumi watercolour and ink works reimagine found photographs and illustrations to embody an interrelation between past and present.
Appropriating the exhibition title from a line in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, which in turn became the title of a song by the Clash, Golden’s new series of paintings use photographs of American soldiers surfing during the Vietnam War as a visual reference, juxtaposed with found illustrations from retro Science Fiction. Influenced by Sontag’s 1965 essay ‘The Imagination of Disaster’, Golden explores cultural anxieties in relation to visual culture; by painting the ‘unthinkable’ – be it conflict, apocalypse or a long lost time-period – the artist exposes universal concerns of the human psyche.
2014 Good Morning! Mister Williams.
Inspired by a found photo album from 1912, Golden retraced the history of a group of choirboys on a trip to Abergele, bringing together several layers of enigmatic narrative. Prince Madoc, the Welsh king, is said to have sailed from North Wales to America in 1170, discovering it centuries before Columbus. Numerous sightings of his phantom ship off the coast of Abergele serve as a ghostly reminder of his erasure from history.
Good Morning! Mister Williams. brings this story and location back to life by juxtaposing an ancient myth and mystery with one more modern. The title, like the images of the exhibition, is appropriated from an old photograph album from the early twentieth century. All original meaning is long lost.
Golden has also recorded a soundtrack to the exhibition, featuring Roshi Nasehi, the Welsh Iranian singer, together with music, production and arrangements by Samuel Frank. The album is a dreamscape of layered experimental space country, folk and pop beats, citing Led Zeppelin to Persian nursery rhymes, via field recordings made in Abergele and London.
The album was released in a limited edition of 250 copies on vinyl, of which 25 are hand-coloured and signed by the artist. A fully illustrated catalogue was also published, including a dialogue between the artist and David Sedaris.
2013 Auction Paintings, World Legend, Lisbon
Exhibition of an ongoing series of paintings of auctions. The exhibition was held in the historic World Legend gallery and auction house. A publication with an interview by the curator/critic Emilia Ferreira accompanied this exhibition.
2007–2008 Love and Hysteria, Fondacion Elektra, Paris and Tate Britain, London
Screening of the music video made in Paris. Commissioned and funded by the Marie de Paris, working with a hip hop crew from RStyle and studio, produced by Samuel Frank – this film was derived through French neurologist and professor Jean-Martin Charcot's interviews with his patients.