Michael Golden


In his paintings of birds and other animals, Michael Golden challenges the definition of the ”naturalist artist” by embracing artificiality in subject and style, the implausible in composition and background, and the spiritual in content. The qualities of energetic presence, beauty, and personal meanings are more important than any hidden content Golden may or may not intend.

Golden attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergrad business major and later Washington University for medical school. He dropped out to study his passion, art. After a few semesters in studio art at the University of Texas at Austin, Golden went on to receive his MFA in Printmaking and Drawing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Houston’s Rudolph Projects/Artscan Gallery organized a 20-year retrospective in 2016 which then traveled to the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago. Golden was included in “The Abstract Impulse” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and has shown at Artists’ Space and The Painting Center in New York City, plus Dallas, Toronto, Boston, St. Louis, Washington, DC and other cities. Golden’s work is in several museum, corporate, and private collections. He has received two Individual Artist Grants from the Houston Arts Alliance. Golden has served on the Artist Board at DiverseWorks Art Space, several HAA grant panels, and volunteered at Lawndale Art and Performance Center and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Golden’s studio is at Spring Street Studios in the Arts District of Houston. He taught at Houston Community College - Central for 25 years, serving as chair of several visual arts departments for a decade. For over 20 years Golden managed the Art Gallery at HCC-Central and curated the TANK Project Space for several years. He has curated over 20 exhibits at Houston area galleries, and juried many others.


Michael Golden's images are metaphors of the reality he experiences. His work blends nature, science and geometric design. Some powerful influences, cultural as well as personal, have shaped his creative intuitions: his love and entanglement with nature and a varied personal medical history. Golden utilizes his experiences and influences from nature with a design concept based on "sacred geometry" providing a fundamental ordering principle for his compositions.

Diagnosed with a blind right eye from birth, the artist has no depth perception and sees the world as flat and two-dimensional. He explores the primordial question: "what constitutes life?" or "what makes life?" as he puts it. This is the one theme that is always there in his work, it is embedded in every piece, be it physical, spiritual, emotional or intellectual.

Michael Golden has developed an entire canon of images that codify and articulate his emotions and visions. Some recurring ones are funnels, keys, the amaryllis, snakes and especially birds. Birds are pivotal in this artist / naturalist's universe. Most every bird for him is a self-portrait. In most cultures birds are the messenger between earth and heavens.

"Sacred geometry" has its root in the recognition of mathematical patterns found in nature, like the logarithmic spiral of the chambered Nautilus and the hexagonal storage cells of the honeybee. These geometric ratios and figures were often employed in the design of architectural structures such as the pyramids, Greek temples or medieval cathedrals. Collapsing three-dimensionality into a two-dimensional topology, Michael Golden re-creates a visionary reality that resembles his experience of his monocular state. The "sacred geometry" matrix then lets his birds and other species of the natural world live and exist in a two-dimensional world. The concept of a "flatland universe", whereby the universe is reduced to a two-dimensional model plus time is currently the subject of serious scientific inquiry in order to explain gravity.

First proposed by Pythagoras, the “music of the spheres” is a philosophical and mathematical concept that regards mathematical proportions in the movements of Sun, Moon and the planets as a form of music. Michael Golden’s creative intuition can truly transcend ordinary reality and he can hear the “music of the spheres” as Pythagoras once did.




2018 Leaning On Air: Works by Michael Golden, Beeville Art Museum, Beeville, TX
0 – Connected: Collages by Michael Golden, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston, TX
Taking the Auspices: Beth Secor and Michael Golden, The Bosque Gallery, Lone Star College
2017 Source Material, Red Maple Gallery Houston, Houston, TX
2016 Michael.Golden: Retrospective: “The Bird is a Space”, Rudolph Projects/Artscan Gallery, Houston, TX
Michael Golden: “ The Bird is a Place”, Beverly Art Center, Chicago, IL
2008 The Spirit in Nature, space135gallery, Houston, TX; HAA Individual Artist Grant Exhibition
2005 Round 23, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX

2018 Assistance League of Houston Celebrates Texas Art 2018; Williams Tower Gallery, juror: Anna Katz, Asst. Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
2017 CDC Juried Exhibition, juror: Paul Davis, Curator of Collections, Menil Collection
2016 Selected Works from the Artists of Sawyer Yards, curated by Clint Willour for Houston Art Fair
2015 Assistance League of Houston Celebrates Texas Art 2015, Williams Tower Gallery, Juror: Dean Sobel, Director of Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO
2013 “The Abstract Impulse: Selections from the Modern and Contemporary Collections”, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curator: Mari Carmen Ramirez, curator of Latin American Art
Houston Fine Art Fair, George R. Brown Convention Center, Spring Street Studios, jurors: Catherine Anspon, Arts Editor Paper City , Michael Guidry, Curator of UH public art collection, and Dan Allison, Dan Allison Fine Art Gallery
2011 “Sword of Damocles”, The Painting Center, New York, NY, curator: Patrick Webb
“Spectrum”, Avis-Frank Gallery, Galveston, TX, curator: Lisa Qualls
“Defining Green”, Russ Pittman Park, Bellaire, TX, invitational
2010 New American Paintings: Fifteenth Anniversary, Juried Exhibition in Print
2008 Assistance League of Houston Celebrates Texas Art 2008, Williams Tower Gallery, Juror: Dr. Kevin Salatino, Curator of Prints and Drawings, LACMA, CA, Honorable Mention
2004 Recent Acquisitions by Glaxo-Smith-Kline, ICID Gallery, Washington, DC
2004 Visual Arts Alliance Juried Exhibition, Williams Tower Gallery, Houston, TX;
Juror: Sally Sprout
2003 Share Your Vision, Artists Space, New York, NY; Jurors: Yona Becker, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Moukhtar Kocache, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Ernesto Pujol, artist; Debra Singer, Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
2001 Works on Paper, San Jacinto College, Houston, TX; Juror: Alison de Lima Greene, Curator of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Honorable Mention
"New American Paintings: Juried Exhibition in Print Number 36," Western Competition, The Open Studios Press, November 2001; Juror: Terrie Sultan.


Casey Gregory, “Show Up: Michael Golden”, Arts and Culture Magazine, February, 2018
Angela Wilson, “Multi-faceted Processes”, The Daily News, Galveston, January 12, 2018
Jessi Virtuoso, “Golden Returns to Roots at Beverly Arts Center”, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 7, 2016
Ward, Jeff M., “Round 23, Project Row Houses,” ArtLies, Issue 49, Winter 2006
Plocek, Keith, “‘Round’ Here,” Houston Press, November 2005
Strong, Lester, “Sharing a Vision,” A & U, December, 2003
Klaasmeyer, Kelly, "Animal Magnetism," Houston, Press, June 6, 2002


2007 Individual Artist Grant, Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, TX ($7500)
2005/6 Sabbatical, full year for painting
2003 Share Your Vision, Artists Space, New York, NY; Second Place ($10,000), Catalog
1998 Bedichek Grant Recipient; for printmaking, HCCS
The Dishman Competition, Dishman Art Gallery, Lamar University Art Department, Beaumont, TX; Third Place Award
1997 Texas National, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX;
Honorable Mention


University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, Master of Fine Arts, August 1989; Printmaking and Drawing
University of Texas at Austin, TX, 1984-1986; studio art
University of Notre Dame, BBA, 1981