BiographyPhyllis Yes was born May 15, 1941, in Red Wing, MN. She earned a BA degree from Luther College in 1963, an MA from the University of Minnesota in 1968, and a PhD from the University of Oregon in 1978. Upon receiving her doctorate she decided to change her name from Richardson to "something short, not a burden." At the suggestion of a friend she became Dr. Yes. She taught art at Escola Normal do Crato, University of Ceara, Brazil (1966-68); Columbia Heights School System, Columbia Heights, MN (1968-73); Oregon College of Education, Monmouth, OR (1973-76); and Oregon State University, Corvallis (1976-78). In 1978 she became an assistant professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where she is currently a professor of art. She has also served as dean of arts & humanities and chair of the art department at the school.
During the 1970s much of her creative effort focused on the development of lace-patterned paintings. That work eventually intersected with her exploration of gender roles, something that had interested her since working with the Peace Corps in Brazil twenty years earlier. She achieved national notoriety in 1984 when she covered a 1967 Porsche with hand-painted lace rosettes and drove the car across the country for her show at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in New York City. Numerous other objects received the lace-covered treatment, including helmets, pistols, army cots, paint ladders and plaster cast torsos. In 1985 her interest shifted to jewelry and other types of body adornment, particularly epaulettes, whose virtually exclusive use in masculine attire interested her. "I pick things from the male domain because I’m trying to dispel the notion that objects are inherently masculine or feminine," said Yes. "Male-female categories are inhibiting and that’s one of the comments I make through lace." Her creativity was fueled by trips to Bali, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Japan, where traditional artisans helped transform her designs into beautiful jewelry.
See also information on her 2013 show in Luther College's Wigley Flemming Gallery