Ryan’s practice utilises image-based media to exaggerate aspects of the everyday. With a documentary approach, the work makes strong reference to portraiture, in the form of both the human body and the structure of utility. The subject of focus varies from the representation of social issues, an interrogation of the object within art, and the photographs ability to re-contextualise. The intention of the work originates from personal experience, in the form of nostalgia or observation. With an objective process towards documentation, his recent work avoids dignifying or critiquing aspects of the social and political sphere, and instead the subject is re-presented in a stripped back aesthetic. This enables the preconceptions of the reader to associate interpretation, creating meaning in the work.
We spoke to Ryan about his series ‘Southern Reach’.
“Broadcast media in the form of television and radio has altered social behaviour via vicarious conditioning; a rich history of technological advances have transformed our domestic environment. The material elements of this infrastructure, specifically that of terrestrial broadcasting networks, are rendered unseen within the environment of the everyday. By cataloguing these isolated transmitters, an emphasis is placed on both their physical form, and the invisible network; allowing us to contemplate the systems and structures that have engendered such a profound alteration of our social environment.
Supplying Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire with their television and radio signals, the Emley Moor transmitter is the main supporter of a Terrestrial broadcasting network. To reach more remote and inaccessible areas the transmitter uses ‘gap fillers’, or relay stations as a means of boosting the signal; Southern Reach documents a portion of this network.”
All images and text © Ryan Smith