Blind Date

An Exhibition Featuring New Carnation Members

February 5 - February 27, 2022

Exhibition Reception

Saturday, February 5 5-8pm

Open Hours

Sat-Sun 12-5pm*
drop in or by appointment 

to schedule a visit

*Masks required inside the gallery

Exhibition Statement

The night has come. Our palms are sweaty, and our hearts are racing. We are imagining all possible scenarios as we listen to our favorite power ballad on repeat. We’ve been texting back and forth, but really have no idea who will be waiting in the gallery with a single white carnation pinned to their lapel. It’s finally time for our Blind Date.

Join us for the big reveal as we welcome the six fantastic artists who have joined the Carnation Roster! The exhibition Blind Date celebrates the beginning of Carnation’s third season of programming and features new members: Raphael Arar, Kris Blackmore, Heather Lee Birdsong, Kyle Peets, Mami Takahashi, and Rachael Zur.


Raphael Arar
works at the nexus of complex systems, transdisciplinary design and arts-based research. His work highlights the social, political and economic implications of technological acceleration and human-to-machine interaction. His media often incorporates kinetic, sculptural elements connected through coded interfaces that invite participant interaction. His artwork has been shown at museums, conferences, festivals and galleries internationally including the ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Moscow Museum of Applied Art, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Gamble House Museum, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, and Athens Video Art Festival. Notable commissions include Noema Magazine, Goethe Institut, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, Intel Labs and IBM Research. Commercially, his design work has been featured in publications including TED, Inc. Magazine, FastCompany, Wired and others.

Kris Blackmore is a Portland-based artist and designer who uses research-based methods to explore areas of culture, technology, and aesthetics. She prefers to explore the creative process collaboratively— she does most of her work under the collective moniker Midgray. Her socially engaged work examines themes of attention, gender performance, and consent through outputs that span digital and print media, textiles, illustration, moving images, interactive installations, essays, and curatorial projects.

Kris holds an AA degree in fashion design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. In 2020 she earned her BFA in graphic design from Portland State University where she was awarded the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize, and subsequently exhibited work at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in recognition of this achievement. Her work has been shown internationally at galleries and museums, including the solo show “No In Disguise” in Prague, Czechia in 2021.

Heather Lee Birdsong (b. Spring Valley, Nevada) is an artist based in Portland, Oregon since 2005. Her particular areas of interest are printmaking, painting, books, and social psychology. She serves on the board of the Northwest Art Council at the Portland Art Museum and is a member of Carnation Contemporary.

Influenced by geometric abstraction and fairy tales, Birdsong’s recent work describes narratives and social interactions using carefully orchestrated color palettes and precise forms. “I’m always pulling back in my work, trying to evoke complexity in understated ways,” Birdsong says. “This is why I often return to fairy tales: the stories are sensational, violent and transgressive, but typically told with a matter-of-fact simplicity that forces the reader to fill in the blanks.”

Collections housing her artwork include the Visual Chronicle of Portland, Oregon; Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College; Albert Solheim Library, Pacific Northwest College of Art; the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and Southern Graphics Council International. Birdsong is recipient of a Project Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (2014) and was an artist-in-residence in Print Arts Northwest's Emerging Printmakers Program (2012). In addition to her fine art practice, she works as a graphic designer and arts administrator. She was gallery manager at UPFOR from 2013 to 2020, and at Chambers@916 from 2010 to 2013. She holds a BFA in Intermedia from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (2011).

Kyle Peets (b. 1984, Utah) is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator who has exhibited his work nationally and abroad. He has had solo exhibitions at Platte Forum gallery (Denver, CO) the Ana Mendieta gallery (Iowa City, IA), and the Retzlaff gallery (Ashland, OR). Various group exhibitions and portfolio exchanges include Character Profile at Root Division gallery (San Francisco, CA), GET’CHA HEAD IN THE GAME at The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland, Art Is Our Last Hope at The Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and Art Shanty on the frozen White Bear Lake (Minneapolis, MN). His video, You, was shown at the 2015 Southern Colorado Film Festival (Alamosa, CO). His work was published in the periodical SPRTS by Endless Editions (New York, NY), archived in the Watson Library Special Collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, Manhattan, Artists’ Books. His poetry has been published by various literary journals such as Interrupture, NOÖ, and Stolen Island. Kyle received an artist in residence Richardson-Spica fellowship for the spring of 2017 and 2018 at Interlochen (Interlochen, MI), SIF fellowship, and Wilhelm and Jane Bodine fellowship from University of Iowa. He received his MFA in Printmaking and Sculpture from

Mami Takahashi is an artist from Tokyo, currently based in Portland, Oregon. Using photography, performance, installation and urban intervention, her practice explores the complexities of being Japanese and a woman living in the US. The photographic works from the early development of the ongoing project, “Seeing you/Seeing Me”, are currently on exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, Oregon in an exhibition entitled The Unknown Artist, curated by Lucy Cotter.

Previous exhibitions and performances have taken place at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco; DANK Haus, Chicago, IL; The International Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Alberta, Canada; Gwangju Folk Art Museum, Gwangju, Korea; Instituto Municipal del Arte la Cultura, DG Mexico and Toriizaka Art Gallery, Tokyo, among other venues. She holds an MFA from Portland State University, a BFA from Joshibi University of Art and Design, Kanagawa, and an AA in Japanese Aesthetics from Aoyama-Gakuin College, Tokyo.

Rachael Zur’s expanded paintings blend sculptural physicality with traditional painting techniques.  Her art practice utilizes an assortment of materials to paint on: plaster, pumice, ceramics, and fabric. The paintings depict objects that can be found in living rooms, though the architectural space itself is left undefined.  Zur received her MFA in 2019 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She has exhibited her work locally and nationally in places such as: SOIL Gallery Seattle, Artworks Northwest Biennial at Umpqua Valley Arts Association, Roseburg OR, FL, Stone House Art Gallery in Charlotte, NC, and with Young Space.  Her work is published in New American Paintings, Under The Bridge Magazine, and Stay Home by Stay Home Gallery and Residency.  The artist has worked as a Program Mentor in the Low Residency MFA Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Zur currently resides in the greater Portland Oregon metropolitan area with her husband and their three children.

Photo credits: Marcelo Fontana, Brittney Connelly
Photo Editor: Marcelo Fontana
8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Open Hours
12-5 Saturday-Sunday

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