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About the Art and the Artist

 Biography

 Curriculum Vitae

In Other's Words

BIOGRAPHY

 In 1971 (after studying engineering and receiving his Bachelor's degree) Yates moved from New York to Sugarloaf Mountain, outside of Boulder, Colorado. Here, he and some friends started a geodesic dome company. After a number of years building domes he went on to design and build custom passive-solar houses. He is a man at home with his materials and his tools.

In 1987, inspired by a sculptor friend, he began experimenting with stone carving. Even before then, though, visitors to his mountaintop home would find all sorts of strange and wonderful sculptures peeking out from among the trees.

In 1989, Sugarloaf was ravaged by a fire that burned for two weeks, taking the homes of many of his neighbors, but sparing his. Still, is was a catalyst for change: in 1992 Yates moved to the Puget Sound for the next seven years. The Puget Sound, infamous for both its beauty and its rain, was a mixed blessing for him; it was an exile from the sunny, open skies of home, and drove him into his art as nothing else ever had.

In 1990 Yates took an extended trip to Italy to visit his sister. Frances, a renown artist in Europe and the U.S., has lived in Italy since the late 60's. She guided him along the trail of the masters, aware, I think, of the indefinable influence that this exposure would have on him. It is the influence not only of ones contemporary peers that inspires and guides an artist, but the company of artists long gone whose work still reaches out across time to give consent and encouragement.

Yates' work can be described as figurative, or abstract figurative. It can be described as minimalist or sensualist. One can site the influences of Brancusi or Modigliani in these aspects. If you ask him, he will also mention Michelangelo, Moore, and Rodin, as having worked on him in various ways. His sculptures are bold, unapologetically alive. In them there is a quality of sensuality, provocativeness, playfulness- joy, if you will- that is all his own.

In the Puget Sound area he found huge yellow cedar logs on the beach, or dragged them out of the drift while riding around the myriad islands in his boat. Yellow cedar (also know as Canadian Cypress) has always been prized by the woodcarvers of the area. It grows only above 3,000 feet in this particular part of the world. With a grain that can be worked from all angles, this wood lends itself to a rich, silky finish.

Now back in Colorado, Yates works primarily in beetle-killed Ponderosa Pine that he cuts on or near his home. The beetle imparts a lovely blue color to the wood and makes striking patterns in the grain. He also works in Spruce and Cottonwood, and some of the wood comes from the Sugarloaf forest fire. He says, with characteristic candor, "all of these trees were dead when I met them". What he can do with a dead tree made one reporter wax eloquently: " When the wind blows for the final time through the limbs of a dying tree, one could assume it calls for sculptor Yates Lansing to remove it from its resting place"(Mark Loyd, Kerrville Daily Times June 6,1999). Many people who see his sculpture are moved to some such grand exclamation...usually just after saying "Wow, Can I touch this?" The answer is most definitely yes. These pieces call out to be touched. Unfortunately, this is one thing the internet cannot yet provide.

 

the dome

Custom Solar Home

 

stone sculpture

strange and wonderful

Frances Lansing

 

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