William Pye was born in London and studied at Wimbledon School of Art (1958-61) and the Royal College of Art (1961-65). Famous for using metal, stone and above all water, he has proved himself a masterful sculptor and engineer.
Having spent a large part of his childhood at his family’s country home in Surrey, Pye was endlessly fascinated by the water that abounded throughout the area. He captured on camera the local ponds and pools, reflections in still water and on in its rippled surfaces; he dammed streams to make cascades and recorded the way water reacted to his interventions.
Since the 1980s Pye has consistently used water as a major sculptural element in his work, wrestling with the science of hydraulics and celebrating the aesthetic aspects of engineering design. The son of a distinguished mechanical engineer, Pye has always been fascinated by the
opportunity to manipulate water. In his quest to push the medium of water to its limit, he has created sculptures of remarkable sophistication and great beauty.
The natural world has always been a fascinating source of inspiration for Pye, his observations of natural forms, combined with his creative use of geometry, lie in the heart of his sculptures. He says:
‘...the movement of light, geometric puzzles, engineering perspectives. I’m very much absorbed in trying to infuse into my work the type of sensations one gets, say, on seeing a beautiful bridge.’
Much of Pye’s artistic career has been focused on major commissions around the world, including the well-known Slipstream and Jet Stream water sculptures at Gatwick’s North Terminal, the font at Salisbury Cathedral and recently Vannpaviljong in Drammen, Oslo. He has also carried out a number of prestigious private commissions for HRH The Prince of Wales at Highgrove and The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle. On a smaller scale are Pye’s beautiful small bronze and steel sculptures which whilst connected in many ways to the water works, offer an interesting insight into Pye’s making process and love of geometry.