This article originally appeared in ArtsBrum
Occupying the ground floor of the faded Victorian splendour of the Great Hampton Works in the Jewellery Quarter, ‘Odox Arts’ reignites a forgotten space.
The gallery, workshop, and studio space bleeds warmth, freedom, and integrity. Walking through the double set of double doors, paintings and sculpture decorate the walls, drawing your eyes from the floor to the ceiling, inviting you into the main gallery and further into the studios of its resident artists. The contemporary gallery space currently boasts the works of its founders, with figurative abstractions packed with colour and emotion from Jay Taylor, and industrial sculptures with a citrus twist from Rob Hamp. There is an immediate reflection of the immense variety that will exist under its roof.
The gallery champions a range of practices, disciplines and fields of art, it is unprejudiced and all-encompassing, welcoming and pioneering in its approach to Birmingham’s cultural scenery. There is an organic feel to the place, rooted in community and intent on contributing to that community. This is epitomised through the workshops and talks the gallery plans to hold, coupled with the non-discriminatory nature of the organisation, it will prove to be an essential facet of artistic life in the second city.
Odox is aware of its place in the city, the artists filling the studio at present are dealing with their environment and interacting with it in fascinating ways. The work of Leanne O’Connor celebrates the work and life of Smethwick native, stained glass pioneer of the arts and crafts movement, Florence Camm, through ingraining the local area into her glass and steel sculptures. In the next studio, Thomas Parry creates gorgeous illustrations of Birmingham’s landmarks for his ‘Made on the Canal’ brand. The intricate lines and shapes that constitute structures such as the library of Birmingham are honoured in his work, as a result the prints are as playful as they are impressive, at once nostalgic and modern, mirroring the city itself.
There is a sense of pride that permeates through the studios, a deep love for the city and the opportunity it is now providing. The art being created in Odox will vary widely in content and construction, but the pride will resonate through each artist and each piece, ensuring a constant quality; from the simplicity of the line illustrations and garish paintings to the large-scale sculptural projects, the gallery is united in its diversity. It is a harmonious combination of the orthodox and the unorthodox, hence the name.
There is something special happening in the Jewellery Quarter and Birmingham at large, and Odox is providing momentum to the wave, transforming it into a tsunami, of emerging artistic talent.
Address: Odox, 171 Great Hampton Works, Great Hampton Row, Birmingham, B19 3JP