Pye is the son of Sir David Randall Pye FRS, a mechanical engineer and academic administrator. He attended the Dragon School in Oxford. He undertook National Service between 1956 and 1958 then subsequently studied at Wimbledon School of Art (1958–61) and the Royal College of Art (1961–65). From 1965 to 1970 Pye taught at the Central School of Art before teaching at Goldsmiths, University of London for five years. In 1972 he was a visiting Professor at California State University. He became known for his sculptures in metal, stone and especially water. In the 1960s, Pye's sculptures were abstract using metal and stone. In 1966 he had his first solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London. Subsequent notable shows were held at Winchester in 1979 and Aberystwyth in 1980. In the 1970s, he produced abstract geometrical works using stainless steel, sometimes including kinetic aspects.
Pye has undertaken major commissions including:
- Zemran (1971), Stainless steel sculpture located on the Southbank Centre in London, which was listed Grade II on the advice of Historic England in 2016.
- Double Somersault (1976), Sculpture located outside Sheffield Children's Hospital.
- Jet Stream and Slipstream (both 1987), water sculptures at the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport, England
- A 13×70m wall of water and the entrance at the British Pavilion of the Seville Expo '92 at Seville, Spain (1992)
- Tetra Trellis (1993), a tetrahedron-shaped water sculpture in stainless steel water sculpture at the Tetra Pak UK Headquarters
- Derby Cascade (1995), Market Square, Derby, England
- Vannpaviljong (2011), Stromso Square, Drammen, Norway
Pye's sculptures are also to be found at Antony House and The Vineyard Hotel. He has had many exhibitions of his sculptures in the UK and elsewhere since his first solo exhibition in 1966. He has received many awards, including being elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1993.
- "William Pye: His Work and his Words". The OD (4): 8–9. 2015.
- Frances Spalding (1990). 20th Century Painters and Sculptors. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 1 85149 106 6.
- David Buckman (2006). Artists in Britain Since 1945 Vol 2, M to Z. Art Dictionaries Ltd. ISBN 0 953260 95 X.
- 77GSlinger. "Vortex Fountain by William Pye". YouTube. UK. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- Rachel Cooke (24 January 2016). "Public art is powerful, glorious and uplifting - it deserves to be saved". The Observer. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
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