William Hunter entered the field of contemporary during its formative stages and went on to become one of the leading figures in the contemporary craft movement. Over the last three decades of the 20th century, Hunter and his contemporaries pioneered a new language in wood. They the field as it evolved from its foundations in forms to its emergence as a vehicle for sculptural exploration. As historians, critics and fellow artists have observed, Hunter’s early forms in wood investigated the medium’s rich expressive potential and advanced a new direction for the entire field of contemporary wood sculpture.

Hunter’s life experiences intersect with the story of the studio wood movement and its emergence as a legitimate and highly regarded form of artistic expression. With the support of visionary collectors, innovative galleries and forward-looking institutions, the field of contemporary wood sculpture experienced tremendous growth from the 1970s through the 1990s. The art form emerged as a dynamic field of creative endeavor during the same period Hunter was perfecting his skills.