Interview: Regan Golden @ WPCA

Jul. 27, 2009
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Regan Golden, only half of the artistic pair exhibiting in "Regan Golden and Jennifer Harris: Decorative Directive" at Walkers Point Center for the Arts, divides her time working and living between Chicago, Illinois, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and now Texas where she accepted a fellowship from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. This is only one of the numerous awards Golden has won since receiving her BA in Studio Art from Grinnell College, and most recently her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. And although her MFA focused on painting and drawing, Golden branched out in her artwork piercing industrial paper, large scale installations cut with an exacto knife that depict pearl strands reminiscent of what she remembers about her own 'perfect grandmother.'

Q: How do your large-scale installations honor your perfect grandmother?

A: I borrow on that tradition from my grandmother, the pearls or her doilies. Cut paper resembles her doilies. The paper is also equated with skin, and mortality, being worn down over time, because when I cut [the paper] I let the blade [on the knife] wear down so there are ragged edges. The cutting of the piece falls apart over time. Perhaps that represents the limits on life.

Q: What becomes of the piece when it falls apart?
A: When it, the piece, begins to falls apart, I take it apart and use it in a new piece. Even though they're labor intensive but made by hand, they do decay, fall apart. So the artwork becomes cyclical, like life.

Q: You also have some smaller paintings or drawings in the exhibit?
A: I use the same patterns on my paintings that I do in my installationsthey're small, intimate gouaches. But I use graphite powder mixed into the paint that gives them a metallic shimmer. And Jennifer [Jennifer Harris from this exhibition] also includes small drawings taken directly from Emily Post's Etiquette.

Q: Do you and Harris draw on the same inspiration for your artwork?

A: Our artistic statement for this show says we both had perfect grandmothers. In this exhibit we draw on decoration, how it changes our lives. But that includes the etiquette conventions.  Did they disappear? We live life and have to obey them? Who enforces these rules? Did our grandmothers back in their days? We both combine feminine ideals with industrial materials to make the conflict interesting. And we're both well trained within our disciplines, mine painting and drawing, Jennifer, industrial design, but work outside this context. It's how objects in design merge in everyday life.

Q: Whats ahead in your future after this exhibit?
A: One, an artist's residency at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and a show at the Rochester Art Center [Minnesota] in September. I'm exploring new work completed from a Joan Mitchell Grant [The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, New York, New York]. It's about the work in the woods in New England, taking apart photographs, and cutting them in pieces. But Jennifer is expecting her first child in January.


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