A multi-disciplinary artist, Chad Wys found his voice in the recontextualisation and appropriation of inane images and objects of the past. Spanning across an array of mediums, Wys’ passion for creation is ever present in his ability to give new life to 18th and 19th century Impressionist artworks and kitsch sculptures through innovative and experimental applications of mixed media.
Born in Illinois, a fascination with art was something that persisted and accompanied Wys throughout his adolescence. It was, however, through his time at university and a more intensive exposure and understanding of art history that Wys’ vocation in art bloomed and became realised in full.
Equipped with a Master’s degree in Visual Culture, Wys’ works are not to be dismissed as solely based on aesthetically intriguing means. Despite being visually captivating, his works are highly conceptual and pose the viewer to question and address ideas of high art culture, object fetishism and the conflict of art as representation.
There is a clever and conscious sense of ambiguity in the objects and images Wys appropriates and manipulates. Be it through the medium of mixed media collage, photography, readymade, painting, film or digital design, Wys intrinsically gives new purpose to the works he creates through his transformation of them, aiming to critique the widespread cultural understanding of visuality alongside the institution of art itself. He states, “The blending of a Rembrandt painting with minimalist, colorfield shapes is certainly a purposeful effort to juxtapose, or clash, elements that don’t belong together.”
Whether he’s applying paint over fine ceramics, digitally collaging traditional artworks with pixel paint, or remixing the traditional with colourful geometric forms, Wys has us in awe as he creates impressive pastiches of disparate ideas and times.
Words/ Sarina Meuleman