Born in San Francisco, Beldner received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Mills College. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and his work can be found in many public and private collections including the Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C., the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, and the San Jose Museum of Art. Ray Beldner makes art from the stuff of everyday life: clothing, cash, stolen items, porn. The work takes the form of sculpture, installation, digital media, text-based work, and applied arts. It is frequently derived from conceptual ideas that deconstruct hierarchical systems high art versus low art, intrinsic value versus commercial value, and so on with ironic humor.
Having completed a project with the Foundation for Healdsburg High School, Ray Beldner was on our invitation list of artists. He enthusiastically accepted and submitted a photograph of a sculpture that had been exhibited recently in a one man gallery show.
The sculpture in the photograph consisted of two columns of 12 inch square silver leafed concrete letters. The words created in the columns were “Nobody’s Coming”. I was happy with Ray’s participation, but the message of the sculpture did not fit The Spirit of the Man theme.
I went back to Ray and shared my concern. “We want people to come to the exhibition” I told him.
After a short time, Ray presented an alternative solution. He re-ordered the letters to create a new word. The word he chose is Cosmogony, the study of the origins of the universe.
Ray honored Al’s influence by finding a word that reflected the spirit of the man and to further honor Al he installed it as a bench. Al would have greatly appreciated Ray’s problem solving. It’s a lovely place to sit, have lunch or just absorb the atmosphere of the grove.
Debra Lehane, Curator