Art From Thurman: Three Dimensional Collages by Diane Golden at the Courthouse Gallery
We were talking about art from Thurman. “Are they talking about Art Cameron?” a woman at the end of the table asked. “I think they’re talking about Art, the one armed guy who repairs snowplows,” said her husband. Actually, we were talking about neither. We were talking about art. Fine art.
Thurman has always drawn its share of sophisticated people. Jack Binder, the artist who created the Nazi-smashing comic book hero, Captain America, painted there. John Hall Sr. could go by horseback to Chalet Francais, where Post Star publisher Art Irving liked to dine and a Turk who called himself Piano Pasha tinkled the ivories. Today, there’s Nettle Meadow farm, Perky Granger and disoriented fans of Bill McKibben, who get lost searching for Crane Mountain.
And there’s Diane Golden, the artist who makes Joseph Cornell-esque boxes and whose opening at the Lake George Arts Project’s Courthouse Gallery we had just come from. At the age of 70, this show was her first.
“Our gallery committee was reviewing slides, and here’s this wonderful work from Thurman,” said gallery director Laura Von Rosk. “We didn’t get it. There’s an artist from Thurman I don’t know about?”
Actually, Von Rosk said, she knew Golden from her visits to the Courthouse Gallery.
“I knew she was an artist, and probably a good one, but I didn’t make the connection,” said Von Rosk. “It wasn’t until later that I realized whose work this was.”
“The Courthouse Gallery has been a secret sanctuary for me,” said Golden. “When there was a call for slides, I decided to make a submission. I was thrilled to be given a show here.”
These three dimensional collages, assembled from objects trouve, where do they come from? Von Rosk asked her.
“The process always starts with an object. I walk around with it and see what it’s drawn to,” Golden said.
Golden is a scavenger. She said she has always collected objects “with no intrinsic value and with no purpose in mind.”
It’s a trait she inherited from her father, she said.
“In the town in Illinois where I grew up, the local store had a big basket with things wrapped in brown paper, which they called ‘Surprise Sales.’ He couldn’t resist those,” she said.
What intrigued her most was the anticipation, the excitement she felt before unwrapping the package.
“The sense of surprise – that’s what I’ve always found engaging,” said Golden.
Her boxes instill that sense of surprise in the viewer, who wonder what’s in the box, and then wonder why those particular objects are combined.
“Are you telling stories?” the artist Bruno LaVerdiere asked.
“No, and that’s why I don’t title pieces. I think I just love patterns,” Golden said.
The pieces may not be narratives, but they’re often sly commentaries on life and even current events, said a collector of Golden’s work who attended the opening.
As has been noted, Golden is not a native of Thurman. She and her husband Tom moved to the Adirondacks a few years ago.
According to the Arts Project’s press release, “After an early career in educational research, Diane Golden returned to school at age 39 to pursue an undergraduate degree in art. A graduate degree in counseling and certification as a Gestalt psychotherapist followed. Diane was director of the Office of Publication and Design at Western Connecticut State University and maintained a small private therapy practice.”
“I always made art, but I never had any sense of its worth,” said Golden.
“You and every other artist,” noted Laura Von Rosk.
Golden’s show at the Courthouse Gallery runs through April 20. She’s paired here with painter Lorraine Glessner, who makes work with layers of fabric that have been subjected to processes such as burning, rusting, decomposition, burying, or exposure to the elements.
The exhibition is funded in part by Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, the Village of Lake George and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. The Courthouse Gallery hours during exhibitions are Tuesday through Friday 12 – 5 pm, Saturday 12 – 4 pm, and all other times by appointment. The gallery is located at the side entrance of the Old County Courthouse at the corner of Canada and Lower Amherst Streets in Lake George Village. Call 668-2616 for more information.