Owen Kydd: Time Image

Shotgun Review

Owen Kydd: Time Image

By Vivian Sming April 12, 2016

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Art Practical staff writer Vivian Sming reviews Owen Kydd's solo exhibition Time Image at Casemore Kirkeby in San Francisco, California.


Casemore Kirkeby debuts at Minnesota Street Project with Owen Kydd: Time Image, an exhibition of photographic and video works that rupture the still image. The Los Angeles–based artist is best known for creating moving images that loop on various formats of display screens—what he terms “durational photographs.” Time Image is a continuation of Kydd’s investigations into the resistance of the fixed image.

In these new works, Kydd forgoes his former still-life setup, opting for a looser experimentation in the studio setting while still using the language of commercial photography. Heavy Water (2015) uses lighting to transform a flat pool of water into a bulbous form, while Knife, Sole, Feather, Scrubbers (2015) playfully substitutes a photographer’s color chart with vibrant scrub sponges. The most surprising pieces in the exhibition, however, move away from the screen and onto the wall. Kydd’s mural prints—large-scale photographs adhered directly onto the gallery walls—obliterate the materiality of the photograph, leaving only the image. The theatricality of the photographs, in the instances of Destiny and Gabriel (2016) and Moth (2015), are interrupted by video displays that jut out of the wall. Moving particles and a shifting moth become agents within the striking photographs of human bodies. One of the two figures in The Boss (2015), a black-and-white mural print, is blurred and distorted in a Photoshop-tool move gone awry. The patched alteration gestures to the evaporation of a body, an image, and a moment in time.

Owen Kydd. Moth, 2015; mural print with square video display; 93.5 x 59 in. (image), 22 x 22 x 8 in. (display). Courtesy of the Artist and Casemore Kirkeby, San Francisco. 

The beauty of Kydd’s works is that the images and their subjects continue to be propelled through time and space beyond the physical constraints of the screen. Though static and looped, their subtle movements indicate that the works and their subjects are alive, existing on their own. Like the gliding clouds in 20 Degree Views, August (2015), the pieces further demand that we view still images and their subjects as constantly shifting, moving, and changing, even when no one is there to bear witness.


Owen Kydd: Time Image is on view at Casemore Kirkeby, in San Francisco, through April 30, 2016.

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