With a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Golden started photographing the woods behind her grandmother's house in Massachusetts before it was demolished. Four years later, she received a Long-term Ecological Research Grant in the Arts from the National Science Foundation to study the different ways that artists and scientists depict ecological change at the world's "most wired forest," The Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. Working in collaboration with printmaker Jeremy Lundquist, Golden reordered their forestry museum.
The challenge of describing a changing landscape continues to fuel her work. As a fellow in Critical Studies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, she spent a year researching and writing about how vision functions in a landscape. In 2015, Golden refocused her work on a landscape closer to home--the urban prairie in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In support of this project, she received the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists and a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. Golden is a 2020 recipient of the Metropolitan Regional Art Council's Next Step Fund Grant.
Golden was recently an Artist-in-Residence at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory at the University of Minnesota, which houses rare and endangered plants from around the world. Based on this experience, Golden recently edited Seeing Plants, a series of articles by contemporary artists on their experiences of plants for MnArtists and the Walker Art Center.
Golden currently teaches drawing & painting, art theory & criticism in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota and the Fine Arts Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Golden also currently teaches in the Graduate Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Golden's work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Midwest Photographer's Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL; Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX; Gallery 44: Centre for Contemporary Photography in Toronto, ON; The Cue Foundation in New York, NY; the Rochester Art Center in Rochester, MN and The Painting Center in New York, NY.
My practice as an artist and writer is a way of understanding the hold that specific places have on my imagination. For the past decade, my work has focused two sites: a forest in Massachusetts behind my grandmother’s house at the edge of a subdivision and a ragged prairie in Minnesota bordering my neighborhood at the center of the city. Both landscapes are edgelands, wild* thin strips of forest or prairie that conceal from view adjacent developments. I am subsumed within these liminal landscapes, enveloped in the colors and quality of light, their history and cultural significance until I become attuned to small changes in these vanishing, green spaces.
My photographs, drawings and collages both record the site overtime and relay how I experience and imagine the place. The desire to present in each image both an objective document of a disappearing landscape and a subjective experience of this place has led to my innovative process: I use high resolution scans and a macro lens to depict the plants that thrive in these edgelands in precise detail, only to obscure these exacting pictures with heavy brushstrokes and fragments of cut paper. I conflate painting and photography in my practice.
I am inspired by early forms of photography, like solargrams and chronophotography, where the lines between art and science, abstraction and description are less clear. I adapt these early photographic processes to digital photography by inviting into the controlled space of my studio the forces of light and darkness (reflectivity, translucency, brilliancy, absorption), entropy and decay (films, residue, accretions, dissolution, cuts) and moisture (wetness, drips, condensation, melting, steam, droplets, icing over). Chance is integral to my process, the unexpected is what makes me feel that I am collaborating with these natural forces.
My need to document every individual plant and tree on site is balanced by the desire to convey what holds the layers of my experience of the place in tension. Collage is my primary medium because I can reconfigure the relationship between the parts and the whole in temporary assemblages staged for the camera or installed in a space. My images are constantly being cut apart and recycled into the next iteration in a cyclical process that reflects the changing landscapes I work within.
Wonder suffuses the images with vivacity—wonder at the persistent beauty and constant evolution of these remnants of landscapes. My goal as an artist is to produce and preserve the extraordinary in these unkempt spaces of urban nature.
* Wildness is the vibrant green of an unfurling fern frond, the shimmering black Poplar leaves at the end of a long winter, the blood dotting the snow when the robin who finds her nest again only to lose everything one morning to the Barred Owl. It is the miracle of Spring Beauty, the palest, smallest, most delicate pink flower of all rising up through the heavy blanket of wet Oak leaves. Wildness is the dissolving and the luminous, the moss under the snow, everything good that I cannot be pin down because it is always pulling me forward, everything in nature that works precisely as it is designed to despite all odds, everything that is unexpected, unforeseen, breathtaking and sometimes unfair, piercingly so.