Arthur Ollman, Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, wrote of Golden’s work at the time of her retrospective exhibition, Myths and Masquerades, in 1986: “Again and again Judith Golden has revealed her own concern about appropriate roles for herself as a woman. Her interest in problems of gender, sexuality, career, fantasy, and, ultimately, her relationship to life are themes that have never been absent from her art. Golden has become one of photography’s most powerful voices of commentary on contemporary issues.”
Judith Greene Golden grew up on the South side of Chicago. Her environment has always affected her work, and she attributes her curiosity regarding other cultures and countries to this early experience in a multicultural neighborhood. As a child she attended classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1973 graduated from the School of the Art Institute with a B.F.A. degree. In 1975, she earned her M.F.A. from the University of California, Davis where she studied with William Wiley, Manuel Neri, Roy DeForest, and Robert Arneson. The California Funk movement, often irreverent and humorous, allowed a playful and personal attitude within one’s art. At this point, Golden began her long involvement with self-portraits, role-playing, and caricatures spoofing the media.
From 1975 to 1979 she taught with Robert Heinecken at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Hollywood influence was incorporated into her photographs through satiric commentary on the seductive and superficial world of entertainment and celebrity. Her use of appropriated media images is considerated important within the history of photography.
In 1981 she accepted a faculty position in the Art Department at University of Arizona, Tucson. This new location introduced her to Native American rituals that often utilize the mask to conceal the individual in order to reveal a more universal spirit. This concept of the mask became the basis for her images which have explored the human connection with nature, the eternal, and the universal for the past twenty years.
Golden’s mixed media photographs are exhibited and collected world wide including the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and others. In 1987, Friends of Photography and the Ansel Adams Center in San Francisco published a monograph of her images, Cycles: A Decade of Photographs by Judith Golden.
In 1996, the Center for Creative Photography established the Judith Golden Archive, which will contain an overview of her photographic prints, proofs, letters, journals, and other materials that reflect her work and career. Golden has received numerous grants including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Polaroid Corporation. Her work appears in The History of Women Photographers, by Naomi Rosenblum, Seizing the Light: A History of Photography, by Robert Hirsch, and other books and catalogs on contemporary photography.
Judith Golden is currently working on a new series, “Memory Mosiacs”, which represents fragments of memory, history and mystery.
Golden states: “In my mixed media photographs my intent is to suggest the human connection with sacred, eternal, and spiritual realms.”