Chris Wyllie was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He grew up in Pawtucket and later found himself splitting his time between Newport and New York City where he began his career in painting. In the winter of 2015 Wyllie opened a studio in Los Angeles. His work is in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Fisher-Landau Center for Art, Gibson Guitar, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and many private collections.
Chris Wyllie’s work explores issues of beauty, desire and the legacy of a historic material culture. His command of the medium harnesses the energy of the discarded remnants and anchors them firmly in the moment and experience of the viewer. It is commentary on the American culture via the juxtaposition of two historical periods. The first period is 1948 – 1968, a time depicting the height of American material culture. He describes these years as the legacy of 150 years of the pursuit of happiness. The subsequent period, 1968 – present, he defines as “just past happy”. Not to suggest unhappiness, or happiness for that matter, but to illustrate and contrast the effect on the culture of such an unprecedented prosperity. But it is the ideal images of the period on which Wyllie focuses. These ideal images set on the detritus of the past create the subtle contrast between the rosy nostalgia and the historic reality. Through the subtle use of line and of color mixed with the natural patina of the chosen object, he welds image, technique, and medium together seamlessly. The viewer faced with this visual accord wherein desire and disdain meet ultimately delivers the completion of the creative act.