London based photographer Brynley Odu Davies’ is contributing to the canon of studio portraiture for his debut solo exhibition at Studio West. Tapping into a practice tracing back to the 1800s and immortalised in works such as Alexander Liberman’s The Artist in his Studio and Nicholas Sinclair’s Portraits of Artists, Odu Davies is turning a contemporary lens on an age old tradition.
Olivia Sterling, White City, London, 2021. © Courtesy of the Artist and STUDIO WEST
Beginning in 2020, the photographer tells us of the projects almost accidental birth; “It came about organically, I think it was driven by my love of photography. During lockdown my previous work in the music industry came to a sudden stop and at the same time, I met some artists who lived near me in south-east London. As time went on, I naturally began to photograph them.”
Three years later, Odu Davies has photographed over two hundred artists in their studio spaces across the entirety of the UK, intending to spotlight the diversity of the individuals forming the next generation of creatives. Looking beyond capital cities, the project took Odu Davies everywhere from his own neighbourhood to the Scottish coastline and from Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast to the depths of the Welsh countryside. Painting a comprehensive portrait stands at the fore of the photographer’s practice; “I wanted it to be inclusive and far-reaching, not just focussing on the artists in London, or those who studied at a certain university or were associated with a specific gallery.”
Tom White, Tower Bridge, London, 2021. © Courtesy of the Artist and STUDIO WEST
Arriving at the West London gallery space early next month, the exhibition itself features portraits of the likes of Corbin Shaw, Olivia Sterling, Preslav Kostov, Adebayo Bolaji and Daisy Parris. Continually inspired by the relationships formed along the way, Odu Davies confirms they all have one thing in common; “I found kindred spirits in all of the artists I met. We’re all pursuing our passion for making and just creating things for the intrinsic joy of doing so.”
Brynley Odu Davies: Artist Portraits will be on display at Studio West from May 5th – 31st, more info here.