William Peers was born in 1965 and studied at Falmouth Art College after which he was apprenticed to a stone-carver, Michael Black, from 1989-1991. Michael urged Wim to work slowly and entirely by hand. His earliest carvings were figurative and followed that long history of English stone carving brought to prominence in the 20th Century by Henry Moore and Eric Gill. Gradually Peers’s work has become more and more abstract.
Many of the sculptures are hand-carved, their surface accentuated by the tiny rhythmic patterns of the chisel and the occasional holes and slender rivulets that puncture the stone.
This is how Wim describes starting each piece:
“Firstly, I must find the right block. It needs to be the right size to fit the idea. Some marble is very veined which often indicates a weakness; so a highly veined marble might be unsuitable for a sculpture with little stone holding it together.
Once the marble is positioned on the work-table, I draw or paint the idea on the stone. I then cut out the profile from one direction. After each cut, I reapply paint to remind myself what the forms are doing. With a complex form I will make a wax model to help me envisage the sculpture inside the block. As the sculpture progresses the form becomes more visible. I keep cutting away until I have the form that I want. I will often mount the sculpture on its base in order to make the final creative decisions. Finally, the sculpture is sanded.”
Peers's carvings have as much affinity with painting as sculpture. The work lies somewhere between the two, with as much in common with abstract painters, Paul Klee and Barnet Newman as with Moore and Gill. Peers lives and works in North Cornwall.
He has exhibited regularly with the John Martin Gallery, London, as well as in group exhibitions across the UK. William is now represented by Everard Read in both London and South Africa.