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Growing up in Key West gave Debra Yates a quintessential perspective on art.  The island, known for its artistic freedom has long been a haven for emerging and established artists.  Yates may have island roots, but she is also well traveled.  After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in advertising design, she studied art history in Florence, Italy.  She began her career in New York as an ad agency art director, moved into magazines—first working in design development for Hearst Publications—and then as art director for Miami Magazine and the Miami Herald’s Tropic magazine.  Yates served as art director for Florida Home Garden for 10 years before it ceased publication.  She won the 2000 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship.

As an artist, Yates is known for the abstract nature of her bold mixed media paintings and mosaics.  Large-scale commissions include two paintings she created for the Neiman Marcus Collection, the 135′ by eight’ mosaic-tile semicircular wall at Collins Avenue and 73rd Street on Miami Beach, the 100′ by 10′ multimedia barricade wall she composed for the Miami International Airport, and the 16′ x 5′ painting which graces the Key West International Airport.

Her mosaics, paintings and design work have been published in numerous design books and magazines.  Her work was recently featured in the New York Times. Yates brings to each project an artist’s sense of color, a graphic designer’s love of white space, a sculptor’s feel for texture, an architect’s eye for detail, and an inherent understanding of the importance of light.

Since the 1980s, when the Barbara Gillman Gallery in Miami exhibited Yates’ large-scale abstracts, the artist’s vision has expanded. With more than 18 one-person shows to her credit, she has broadened her scope of work to include sculpture, garden and spatial design.

Yates uses diverse materials to construct assemblages of both primitive and modern elements.  Yates draws inspiration from the merging of her different cultural backgrounds. Compositional balance is achieved through a strong sense of line, color and shape. There are no preliminary sketches or preconcieved ideas as each painting is an evolution.

Debra currently lives in Lake Worth Beach where she paints and also runs her native landscape design business with her son and business partner Benjamin Burle, Yates Burle Studio.



Biography: Born & raised, Key West, FL

Education: BA, Advertising Design, Florida State University, Art study, Florida State University, Florence, Italy

Experience: Advertising agency Art Director, New York City, 1977-81
Magazine Art Director, 1982-1994 (Miami Magazine, Miami Herald's Tropic Magazine, Florida Home & Garden Magazine)
1985-1994, Artist - Barbara Gillman Gallery, Miami
1981- present, The Art of Space, designer of resort & residential spaces
1981- present, abstract painter

2017 Dina Baker Award, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
2014 Stars of Design Award, DCOTA , Design Center of the Americas
2012 Winner, The Art Place juried show, Wynwood, Miami
2007 Studios of Key West, Armory studio space recipient
2002 Commissioned works for the Neiman Marcus Collection
2002 Residency Fellowship recipient, Vermont Studio Center
2000 South Florida Cultural Consortium award, Monroe County
1997 Spectrum Worldwide Mosaic Tile Competition, first prize

Solo Shows:
2021 Pop-up show, Covid Series, Atlantic Avenue, Delray
2018 Reimagine, a pop-up exhibition, City Place, West Palm Beach
2018 Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
2014 Lemonade Stand Gallery, Key West
2013 The Art Place, Wynwood, Miami
2010 Red Door Gallery, Richmond, VA
2010 Studios of Key West, Armory Building Installation
2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001 2000, Lucky Street Gallery, Key West
2007 Bravura Gallery, Southampton, NY
2006 Ariodante Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2006 Artforte Gallery, Seattle, WA
2005 New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
2004 Simply Abstract, Tennessee Williams Theater Lobby, Key West
2003 Annie Bolling Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
1997 Creative Resource Gallery, Birmingham, MI
2015 (Group Show), Hal Bromm Gallery, 40th Anniversary Invitational Show, Tribeca, NYC

Public Work:
2009 Key West International Airport, 17”x 4' painting
2007 Sculpture Key West, Serpentine Fence 36' x 3'
2006 Mosaic Benches, City of Palm Desert, CA
2006 Sculpture Key West, Bamboo Grouping
2005 Art in Public Places, Hanging Tarps, Key West Ferry Terminal
2003 Art in Public Places,135' x 3' mosaic tile wall, Smathers Beach, Key West
2002 Neiman Marcus Collection, 2 paintings 60” x 72” Millennium Mall, Orlando
1998 City of Miami Beach, 135' x 8' mosaic wall, Drive by Celebration
1997 Art in Public Places, Miami International Airport,100' x 8' Barricade Wall
Site Specific large-scaled abstract, exterior, mosaic tile compositions for public, private and resort locations

Select Publications:
Debra Yates, The Art of Space, (Amazon or blurb)
Debra Yates, Selected Paintings, (Amazon or Blurb)
New York Times, HOME section, Conde Nast, Traveler, Garden Design, Casa Vogue, Ambienti, House Beautiful,
Miami Herald, Florida Design, Miami Home & Decor, Florida International Magazine, Southern Accents,
Metropolitan Home, San Diego Home & Garden Published in numerous design books