Ray Beldner, American (b.1961, San Francisco, California)
Ray Beldner is a mixed media artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in many public and private collections including the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C., the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Oakland Museum of California, the San Jose Museum of Art, the di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona, and the Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C., among others. The work is in several corporate collections as well: Saks Fifth Ave, Bain Capital, McKesson Corporation, President Hotel, NY, the Royal Sonestra Chicago Riverfront, and the Candler Hotel in Atlanta.
Born in San Francisco, Beldner received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including a California Arts Council Fellowship in New Genres, a Creative Work Fund Grant from the Haas Foundations, and a Potrero Nuevo environmental art grant. He has taught sculpture and interdisciplinary studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of the Arts, University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
His work has been reviewed in publications including Art in America, Art on Paper, Wired, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. Recent catalogues with his work include: Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture, MIT Press, 2009; Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond, University of California Press, 2006; Imaginary Economics: Contemporary Artists and the World of Big Money, NAi Publishers, 2005.
I create sculptures and works on paper by appropriating images of paintings from different art historical periods that I find in books, auction catalogs, and magazines. I select these images as collage elements for their historic importance, and also for the shapes, colors and textures that draw me to them.
I cut, arrange and rearrange, playing with their complementary and contrasting attributes and create surprising, lyrical and visually confounding new compositions. I am often surprised by what results from the simple juxtaposition of unrelated forms. It is as if I have released some kind of latent energy from the original work. Collage also allows me to re-examine these well-known artworks in a different light, questioning our understanding of them and their current relevance.
Over time, my collages have developed from simple layered fragments of paper to large-scale assemblages and free-standing sculptures. The rocky forms and bright landscapes of the Sierra foothills, where I recently moved, are starting to appear in the organic shapes and textures in the work. The Collage Rocks, for example, are directly inspired by the myriad granite outcroppings that are an iconic feature of the California landscape.