Ray Besserdin, born to artist parents, began his passion with paper in childhood, about the time he also became fascinated with nature and why he later chose to study Biological Sciences before returning to art.
Over three decades since first innovating his sculpture methods in paper, Ray’s work has come to range from miniature to gigantic, from abstract to ultra-realistic. However, he terms his signature style “Impressionist Sculptured Paper”, associating it with the painting style of that name because his tearing and sculpting techniques create form, life, and expressions of subjects without precise, mechanical cutting that meanwhile also loses the nature and intrinsic beauty of the papers. He further believes that judicious abstraction results in a more immediate, sensory, and emotional connection with the subject. While Ray has astounded viewers with the extreme realism his techniques are capable of, the “impressionist” technique also reveals the artist’s hand in creating the work, making it akin to painting and bringing the human connection we all seek in art, but in 3D with sculptured paper. While most of Ray’s pieces are these – essentially, 3D relief works in paper - he also creates totally freestanding sculptures of paper that are based on structural foundations like those taught at the MMAQ in 2019. It allows unlimited forms with great strength despite the pliable nature of paper. At over 6m long and 4m high, these techniques allowed Ray to build what at the time were unofficially the world’s largest freestanding paper sculptures for the Northern Territory Government of Australia in 2000. Once created, these freestanding foundations allow Ray an endless freedom of surface finishing using a vast choice of paper varieties and treatments, as shown in the work called Eroded Blue, 2018. Ray’s “paper palette” is mostly handmade and mould-made, new or recycled material, sheet formed cotton, hemp, mulberry (Kozo) and similar long-fibred papers from the world over. While nature is still his most beloved subject matter, he also enjoys creating portraits and abstract works.
Corporate commissions / collections include Macquarie Bank Australia - “Flowing Synthesis”; Amcor – “Towards 2000”; Ford Motor Company/Tickford Engineering – “Dick Johnson AM commemorative portrait”; Northern Territory Government of Australia – “Federation Sculptures” et al; Spicers Paper Australia/Kokusai Pulp & Paper Japan – “Birds of a Feather” themed works, to name a few.
Private commissions /collections hang in London - Sir Stirling and Lady Suzie Moss - “Portrait of Sir Stirling Moss”; Munich - A private “Floral work”; Manhattan - Bitcon “Six-piece Australian Floral collection”, New Zealand – “Unicorn Fantasy”, and a multiple works throughout Australia.
Bachelor of Science Degree, La Trobe University, graduated 1982. Melbourne, Australia