About Hugh Pryor
As a former student of animation at Farnham, I’ve always maintained an interest in motion, however it’s not always been in the form of animation. Photography offers the opportunity to experiment with many forms of motion, whether that’s running around with a sparkler or using a laser as a giant bar code scanner on a dancer, or combining video frames to visualise the motion of a flock of birds. The key to my practice is to turn our endlessly moving world into something that is still, beautiful and tangible.
Like a moth I’m drawn to lights – we’re lucky to be living through a lighting revolution with LEDs, laser and microchip-controlled lighting. Through the design and creation of sometimes elaborate lighting set-ups, worlds of movement are opened up. All too often abstraction takes over; however, fascinating things happen on the boundaries between pictorial representation of a subject and meaningless chaos.
When you open the camera’s shutter for a long exposure, you are inviting all the movement in the scene to land on the camera’s sensor and record itself. The subject becomes the shutter – eclipsing the light source and creating the boundaries between light and dark.
With the new outlook these techniques show the world, phenomena such as the patterns of wind, turbulence, clouds, swarms of flies, flocks of birds, traffic, people, dancers, fair ground rides, and one’s own motion in the form of luminous performances, are freed from the dimension of time.
As a consummate experimenter and tinkerer, not to mention bottle collector, I enjoy finding ways of combining my delight with lighting and the practicalities of making a structure which can hold together long enough for people to enjoy.
My latest installation was a fish tank with bottles suspended floating in the water and illuminated with coloured LEDs in such a way that the air-glass interface reflects the light like a silvered mirror. What else to do with my ever-expanding bottle collection? A chandelier, perhaps?
When Roger Perkins asked me if I would like to collaborate with him for his 60 bicycle project for the Oxford Big Green Day Out, I was secretly hoping it would be rejected for the absurdity of the scale. How even, what? with 60 bicycles! Thanks to the use of hand cranked dynamos powering LED strip lights and motorised bubble machines, the project proved complex and challenging enough to pique my interest – and at 7 metres long, a nice scale!
Have you ever pointed a video camera at a screen that’s displaying the image from the camera? You end up with a picture of the screen, which rapidly turns into a spiralling tunnel and provides hours of phantasmogoric fun. What happens if you point 2 or more cameras at the screen? Fractals!
This has been the basis of several installations and performance pieces, with each iteration of the work building on the previous, just like fractals!
Painting and Drawing
When I say I’m an artist, people often ask me if I paint portraits or pets. I’m pleased to say that don’t, but I love the use of paint as much as I love the use of lasers, and that I am a keen painter and illustrator. I do this mainly for fun, as well as the occasional commission, and I am a regular practicer of life drawing. I relish with the challenge of finding different ways of drawing the human figure, particularly when it all goes wrong…
What do I do?
I volunteer for and am on the board of OVADA gallery, a central Oxford warehouse that includes an exhibition and venue space, artist’s studios and an art school. I am involved with setting up exhibitions and working with artists to fulfil their technical requirements.
Hugh Pryor 2019
Neither Use Nor Ornament – Everyday objects transformed. Arts Council funded exhibition at Ovada working with Sonia Boue– April 2019
Still in Motion – Exhibition at The Old Fire Station – Oct 2018 – Feb 2019
Camaradas UK-Mexico Art – performance art collaboration with Veronica Cordova de la Rosa, Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green (2018)
Director’s Cut – bottle chandelier and selected figurative photographs, Ovada gallery (2017)
Posed – experimental life drawing exhibition, OVADA gallery (2017)
Uncovered – exhibition of life drawings, OVADA gallery, Oxford (2016).
St Giles Fair – slit scans, Quarter Horse Coffee Cowley Road, Oxford (2015)
Tralfamadorian Vision – slit scans, Oxford Artweeks at OVADA gallery (2014)
Take-out with ArtWash, Tsang’s Kitchen, Oxford (2009)
Slit Scans Tenderpixel Gallery, Soho, London (2008)
The City as a Canvas gps mapping – ESAD Matosinhos Oporto, Portugal (2008)
Selected GPS Drawings Oxford Artweeks (2007)
Drawing with Satellites FNAC Oporto, Portugal (2007)
Triptych Map with Sure Start, Tate Britain, London with Lake Associates (2006)
FreQut ICA Theatre, Westminster Wireless Festival, London (2006)
Geograms <TAG> gallery, The Hague, Netherlands (2006)
Randonnée SONAR Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, Barcelona (2005)
Drawing on Oxford workshop display, Museum of Oxford & Modern Art Oxford (2004)
Common Place Landform Ueda workhop at The Lighthouse, Glasgow (2003)
Holding the Line Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery Reno, Nevada (2002)
The Big Draw Modern Art Oxford (2002)
Bathos Space Station 65 Dulwich, London. Dog Drawings (2002)
Taking a Line for a Walk X-Change gallery, Oxford (2002)
Workshops / Installations
‘Squash and Stretch’ Performance Art Festival fractal video installation, Oxford Brookes (2018)
Bbyond Belfast – Performance art practice in Derry, Northern Ireland (2018)
Live Art and Performance Group – monthly workshops in collaboration with Veronica De la Rosa (2017-2018)
Re Cycle – Bicycle installation for the Oxford Big Green Day Out with Roger Perkins (2017)
Slit scans and Chronochromagraphy workshop – OVADA, Director’s Cut exhibition (2017)
Psychedelic Circus – fractal projections and laser shadow wall The Cellar, Oxford (2016)
VIDEOVADA – interactive fractal projections, OVADA gallery (2016)
Light Drawing workshop – OVADA gallery (2015)
Paper folding workshop with Oxford Hack Space, OVADA gallery (2013)
Oxford Hackspace Schlieren Photography with Tim Stephens OVADA gallery (2014)
Stammtisch – Halloween pumpkin chandelier, OVADA gallery (2013 and 2014)
Blogging from Mobiles – with Kay sentence (2008)
University of Oporto on Matosinhos Beach and Reitoria with the University of Austin, Texas (2007)
FreqOUT! Churchill Gardens Youth Club on Battersea Park for Westminster Council (2006)
Drawing Oxford on Oxford Modern Art Oxford (2004)
GPS Drawing workshops at the following schools (2002-2003): King’s Park Primary School Edinburgh, Chichester High School West Sussex, Montem Junior School Slough.
Drawing on Oxfordshire – Part of “The Big Draw” at the Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock (2003) with 5 schools around Oxfordshire.
If you wish to contact me for commissions, collaborations, exhibitions or just to say hello – please email me on
I have a quarterly mailing list with MailChimp which I’ll keep you posted about forthcoming exhibitions, projects and events.