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Pamela Golden

Info

  • 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 her 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. 

  • Biography

  • 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 studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, completing an MFA in Painting 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.

  • Practice

  • Growing up in Chicago, Golden was deeply influenced by the wealth of stimuli of the city. There she completed her MFA in Painting alongside film history at the School of the Art Institute when the school was still physically part of the museum. 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.

    Golden’s practice involves reimagining absent or potential histories suggested by the source materials, exploring generational relationships with imagery and visual culture, and 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 is 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.
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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Solo Exhibitions

    2018 Thunderstruck, Marlborough Fine Art, London

    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

    2007–8 Love and Hysteria, Fondacion Elektra, Paris

    Group Exhibitions

    2017–18 Fazer Sentido / Making Sense, Casa da Cerca, Almada, Portugal

    2015 “I never thought I´d see you again”, Painting History, Marlborough Contemporary, London

    2013 Cowboy Style, Marlborough Contemporary

    2013 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 

    2011 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

    Publications

    2018 Thunderstruck, Marlborough Fine Art, London

    2017–18 Fazer Sentido / Making Sense, Casa da Cerca, Almada, Portugal

    2015 Charlie Don’t Surf , London: Marlborough Contemporary

    2014 Good Morning! Mister Williams. Book and Record album

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  • Awards and Grants

  • (2017) Research and KT Development Fund, Royal College of Art

    (2013) Akerman/Daly – Flash 500 commission for publication

    (2012) Pollock–Krasner Foundation Grant, awarded internationally to individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.

    (2012) 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.

Selected work

Research

Current and recent research

Golden’s practice often involves her reimagining absent or potential histories suggested by the source materials, filling in gaps to generate a strong sense of narrative.

2020: Thunderstruck 

Thunderstruck is an ongoing series of watercolours combining found images and photographs documenting the bombing of the city of Baghdad during the Iraq war in the early 2000s, with stills from the film The Thief of Bagdad (1940). The series of paintings will be completed by a music album and a display of ephemera.

In this series, Golden explores a complex array of themes, from the notions of the 'Other' and the 'exotic' to the beauty of destruction and war. She also looks at global warming and the problematic dynamics of how we perceive the world through mediated sources. 


2020: Foxfire

Foxfire is 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 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 retraces 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 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 is 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 will be 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 accompanies this exhibition.


2008 Love and Hysteria, 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 derives through Charcots interviews with his patients.


2007–8 Love and Hysteria, Fondacion Elektra, Paris

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 derives through Charcots interviews with his patients.