In Drag, Van Der Hout photographs drag performers in the spaces between their lived and performed identities. He’s interested in how we can access inner power as we create our own mask to be seen through.
While queens normally inhabit a space of power in their performative lives, this in not necessarily so in their day to day. What emerges is a new identity between the mask of the everyday and the mask of the queen.
Water is often thought of as an accessible commodity in most Western cities. With global climate change, this expectation is becoming less certain. Draughts, contamination, and flooding in places like Cape Town, Los Angeles, Flint, and Manitoba have made obvious that a limitless supply of water does not exist.
Dark Waters is a series of images of water, clouds and deserts looking at our culpability in commodifying and altering nature. Using a laser cutter, Van Der Hout burns holes into the photograph, allowing certain portions of the image to remain and others to fall away. He is interested in how far he can destroy the physical structure of the photograph before it falls apart.
Creative Destruction explores ideas of modernization, progress, and loss by etching into the surface of photographs from the Toronto archives.
At this time of transformation, I became interested in exploring Toronto's past, as a means of framing the changes we are currently observing – in the realms of transportation, architecture, and the nature of work – and shedding light on the connections between past and present.
Alchemy marked a much needed departure for me. In the winter of 2018 I spent a week in Joshua Tree California. The desert is a place of calm for me, a place where you can see infinitely in all directions.
I felt an amazing sense of groundedness and expansion here. I decided to combine images I took with images from the Hubble Space Telescope...
Through the course of my work I have looked to the nature of photograph -- distilling the medium to its most essential elements. In so doing, I have discarded from my work much of what has been considered central to photography. The modernist movement in photography took it to be self evident that the nature of photography lies in the recording of "the thing itself," meaning the outside world.
The studio is both a magical and profoundly practical place. It is a site that serves the grand pursuits of contemplation and creativity while meeting the functional requirements of production, storage, and distribution. In the studio, artworks coexist in an entirely uncontrived dialogue.
The photographs in this series document artists at work in studios that range from monastic to whimsical to chaotic. These private and highly individual workspaces speak volumes about artists’ processes and personalities.
In 2006, my cousin came to me with a set of slides she had found while cleaning out her parent's basement. The slides had gone through radical changes in the time they had been in the box. Most probably subject to a flood at one point, many of them had begun to disintegrate. The very fabric of the slides had been compromised, in some cases leaving nothing but abstract traces where images had once been.
Ryan Van Der Hout's work explores the intrinsic nature of the photogram as it is applied to various streams of art. A photographic image made without a camera, the photogram is produced by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The varying tonality of the resulting silhouetted image is determined by the transparent, translucent and opaque qualities of the object photogramed.
Icons is a collaborative work between cross disciplinary artist Diana Bennett and photographer Ryan Van Der Hout. Through resin tablets juxtaposed with photograms, the series explores a misguided and misogynistic past which mirrors the resurgence of neo-fundamentalism threatening individual freedoms throughout the Judeo-Christian and Muslim worlds.