Photo By Bruna Rico

A keen interest in surface and process is the bond that ties Van Der Hout’s work together. Inspired by the Dadaists, Van Der Hout inserts his work into a history of photography based in the medium’s self-reflexive relationship to form, process, and experimentation, rather than in its ability to document the world.

Conceiving of the photograph as something sculptural, Van Der Hout seeks to create photography that escapes the frame and challenges our notion of what a photograph can and cannot be. 

Questioning and representing photography’s relationship to time, history, death and decay, the artist matches technical investigations of process with larger processes such as Nature and History. 

A constant preoccupation in Van Der Hout’s work is the close, generative, and dialectic relationship between destruction and creation. The artist often works with lasers, which he regards as a kind of printer in its own right—creating with light—to capture the photographic surface in the moment before it falls apart.

By creating memento moris that both reference and scramble touchstone symbols of art history and personal histories, what emerges are surrealist tableaus and ahistorical portraits about memory and its distortions. Van Der Hout captures new worlds built out of neglected memories and decaying images and objects. Rather than images of loss, Van Der Hout imagines beauty and regeneration in scenes that are ever haunted by past forms. 

Ryan Van Der Hout is an experimental photographer and sculptor based in Toronto. With an emphasis on process rather than representation, Van Der Hout’s artwork considers how technology relates to and recontextualizes the photographed object. 

In his cross-disciplinary practice, Van Der Hout references art history and raises questions about medium, often making photography about sculpture and sculpture about photography. Van Der Hout’s recent sculptural and installation work continues the artist’s investigation of photographic preoccupations such as light and motion. 

Van Der Hout’s recent photography series Collecting Dust (2021 - present) explores the major themes of history and time. Placing canonical symbols next to personal objects to create still lives that are covered in layers of dust decay, he constructs surrealist tableaus about destruction as a form of creation. Traversing in the classic still life’s vernacular of loss, Van Der Hout pulls objects out of their situatedness in time to imagine ahistorical scenes of looking back. 

The artist’s series Dark Waters (2015 - present) investigates technology’s relation to destruction and decay by using a laser cutter to capture images of nature as they burn away, simultaneously destroying and preserving his subject matter in the photographic act. 

Van Der Hout’s work has been widely featured in publications including The Huffington Post, Vogue Italia, CBC and Reader’s Digest. He has exhibited across Canada, The United Kingdom, and New York, most notably in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Collectors Series, as part of a Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival featured exhibitiosn, and in The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward festival. He has created public art for the Toronto Archives, The TTC, Nuit Blanche and Pemberton Developments. Van Der Hout was awarded the Emerging Artist Award by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Ryerson University. 



Artist Statement



Oeno Gallery - Prince Edward County

United Contemporary - Toronto


BFA with Honours, Image Arts– Photography, Ryerson University, Toronto, April 2009 

Solo and Collaborative Exhibitions

Drag, United Contemporary, Virtual, July 2022

Collecting Dust, Core Contact Festival Exhibition, United Contemporary, Toronto, May 2022

Fire + Dust, United Contemporary, Toronto, June 2021

Dark Waters, Double Happiness Projects, Toronto, September 29 - November 18, 2018

Dark Waters, Robert Mclaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario, June 04 - September 23 2018

Surface Tension Installation, Doors Open Toronto, Toronto Archives, May 28 2016

Surface Tension, Featured Contact Festival Show, Hashtag Gallery, Toronto, May 2016 

(e)femora, Eleanor Winters Art Gallery, York University, Toronto, 2011

Light Objects, Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto, May 26-June 26 2010 

Light and Objecthood, Ryerson Gallery, Toronto, January 2010

Icons, Latcham Gallery, Markham, Ontario, November 2009

Light Compositions, Art Mur, Montreal, Quebec, September 16- October 6, 2009

Icons, Gallery Karozene, Montreal, Quebec, May 5-30, 2009

Icons, Engine Gallery, Toronto, April 1-17, 2008

Vanitas and the Death of the Darkroom: Photograms by Ryan Van Der Hout, Engine Gallery, Toronto, May 7-30, 2007

Selected Group Exhibitions

Photorama, Gallery TPW, Toronto On, November 2021

We Like Small Things, Filter Photo, Chicago Il, October 2021

Black And White, Site Brooklyn, Brooklyn NY and Online, July 2021

Oeno Sculpture Garden, Prince Edward County, Ontario, 2021

Winter Tonic, Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Winter 2019-2020

Grow Op, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, April 2019

Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition, Orillia Museum of Art, September-November 2018

Grow Op, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, April 2018 

Salon 44, Gallery 44, Toronto, March 2017

Flash Forward, Division Gallery, Toronto, October 2016

Utopia: Dystopia, Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath, England, May-June 2016

Come Together, Curated by Barbara Astman, Propeller Gallery, Toronto, May 2016

Supernova, No Vacancy (one night installation art festival), Burlington Ontario, September 2015 

Actinic, Stills Scotland’s Centre for Photography, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2015 

Tra-Digital, Elsie Whitley Innovation Centre, West Yorkshire, England, June 2015 

Spotlight on the Collection, University of New Brunswick Art Centre, January 2015

Nuit Blanche: Public Installation, Ryerson University,  Toronto, September 29, 2009

Altered Realities, Agora Gallery, New York, NY, November 19- December 12, 2008 

Nuit Blanche: Engine Gallery, Toronto, September 29, 2007 

Young Artists Showcase: Queen West Art Crawl, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, September 15-17, 2005

Emerging Visions, Hangman Gallery, Toronto, May 1-31, 2005

Press and Publications

Larry's list, From Crypto Punk to Crypto Patron, 2022

Fortune Magazine, 50 most influential people in NFT's, July 2021

DArt, Fire + Dust, july 2021

ArToronto, Fire + Dust, July 2021

Vogue Italia, PhotoVogue, 2020

Blog TO, A Streetcar Named Toronto, 2019

CTV, Toronto is Sending Off Its Old Streetcars in Style, 2019

Narcity, You Can Hop Aboard A Psychedelic Streetcar in Toronto This Fall, 2019

CBC, Catching Toronto's Famed Streetcar...Before It's Gone for Good, 2019

Flash Forward, Magenta Foundation, 2018

Toronto Life, Grow Op Highlights, 2018

Flash Forward, Magenta Foundation, 2016

Art Local, Stephanie from Art Bitch Interviews Ryan Van Der Hout, April 22, 2014

CTV Morning News, A tour of “The Collector Series” exhibition, November 30, 2011

Fashion Television, A look at “The Collector Series” exhibition, December 2011, 

Jeanne Beker

“Jeanne Beker Strips her Walls for the AGO”, Toronto Star, November 30, 2011

Andrea Carson, “Artist Spotlight”, VOCA, June 2010


Art is Spectrum: The Chelsea Perspective” (bi-annual publication), Vol. 20, ed. Angela Di Bello, November 2008, pp. 55

Rolyn Chambers. “Deep Dish”, FAB Magazine, Issue 316, March 2007


Streetcar Museum

Library of the AGO

Montreal Planetarium

Art Centre, University of New Brunswick

Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan (Arsenal)

Jeanne Beker

Art Fairs

Charlie James Gallery, LA, Art Toronto 2018

Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County, Art Toronto 2018

Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County, Art Toronto 2017

Engine Gallery, Toronto, Art Toronto 2008

Engine Gallery, Toronto, Art Toronto 2007


Artist Talks

Robert Mclaughlin Gallery, 2018 

Cut, Scratch, Fold. Gallery 44, 2016

Hashtag Gallery: Artist Talk with AGM Curator, Kendra Ainsworth

Panel on alternative process photography, Lonsdale Gallery 2015

Ryerson Gallery: Artist Talk 2010

Liquid Lunch: That Channel 2010

Public Art

Our Streetcar, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto, 2018

Space and Time : Pemberton Developments, Toronto, 2018

Snap Live Auction, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, March 2020

Snap Live Auction, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, March 2018

Snap Live Auction, Canadian Ballet Academy, Toronto, March 4, 2007