Director The Ruskin Foundation and Brantwood Trust
- written by Howard Hull

Piers Williams looks into the heart of the most fleeting and humble of nature's creations with such intensity and clarity that his paintings become transcendental. The art critic John Ruskin talked of an intensity of seeing which was at once sharper to the eye and clearer to the soul than ordinary vision: it arose in truth to nature, and expressed itself in sympathy of the heart.

In Williams' work the generosity of spirit towards his subject produces a remarkable lyricism. Williams understands that both the manipulation of paint and the contemplation of the material world offer a pathway to spiritual experience. By choosing to paint the intimate world of an individual blossom on a monumental scale, the artist invites us to enter the subject with our whole body, not just as if we were looking in from outside. At this scale there is nowhere for the artist to hide should he make a technical error, for we need to suspend our disbelief and enter the space completely untroubled by issues of execution. To succeed in this takes great assurance.

Piers is a committed craftsman when it comes to execution. He sets the bar fearlessly as high as it needs to go in order to achieve the visual quality that will do justice to his subject. However, he does not pursue technical skill for its own sake. There is always a workmanlike reason for its use. For instance, he employs some of the difficult oil processes discovered by painters of the Italian Renaissance and adapts them to his use. The method of glazing, where transparent layers of paint are built up, originally developed to represent skin tones, is applied in Williams' work to the softness and luminosity of petals with stunning results.

Whilst being meticulous in its technical accomplishment, his work wears this mastery lightly. All Piers Williams' work goes back to a respect for nature, passionately observed and felt in the heart. We are left in awe of his subject, not of his achievement. The achievement is all the greater for that.