Statement/ Biography

Heather Lee Birdsong (b. 1984 in Spring Valley, Nevada) blends personal symbols with those from folk tales and mythology in her paintings, etchings and handmade books. Influenced by geometric abstraction and magical realism, Birdsong describes narratives and social interactions using toned-down colors and precise forms.

“I’m attracted to the ugliness and often overwhelming intensity of human emotions, but I try to express them with nuance,” Birdsong explains. “I’m always pulling back in my work, trying to evoke a richness in ambiguity. I often experience subtle emotional space as more fraught than melodrama: it’s where the power dynamics that underlie social interactions are revealed. Systemic power imbalances, like patriarchy and white supremacy, play out on this intimate scale every day, as micro-aggressions and seemingly benign social norms.”

Collections housing her work include the Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College; the Visual Chronicle of Portland, Oregon; the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and Southern Graphics Council International. Birdsong holds a BFA in Intermedia from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (2011) and participated in Print Arts Northwest's Emerging Printmakers Residency Program (2012). A 2014 Project Grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council funded Semblant Geometries, a limited edition fine press book. Heather Lee Birdsong lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Curriculum Vitae


2011 – BFA in Intermedia, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR
2002-2004 – Women’s Studies (Social Research) under Carol Mason, PhD, University of Nevada Las Vegas, NV

Awards and residencies

2014 - Artist's Individual Project Grant, Regional Arts and Culture Council
2012 - Print Arts Northwest Emerging Printmakers Residency Program
2006 - Merit scholarship in painting, Pacific Northwest College of Art

Solo exhibitions

2015 - Semblant Geometries; Back Room at Blackfish Gallery; Portland, Oregon (solo)
2014 - Semblant Geometries; Photo & Print Gallery at PNCA; Portland, Oregon (solo)
2009 - Keeping Quiet; OTWAU Gallery; Portland, Oregon (solo)
2004 - Ravaged; Hounsel House at UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada (solo)

Selected group exhibitions

2018 - Memorial University of Newfoundland, Corner Brook, Newfoundland
2018 - IMPACT 10, Santander, Spain
2018 - Brought to the Light: Selections from PNCA's Print Exchange Archive 1992 - 2017, PNCA, Portland, OR
2018 - Blattner Studio Gallery, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA
2018 - Themed Portfolio: Women, Memory and Psychological Scapes, SGCI, Ballys, Las Vegas, NV
2016 - Iteration: Printmaking Pop-Up; Hand Eye Supply; Portland, Oregon
2016 - Variable States: Prints Now; Upfor; Portland, Oregon (as curator)
2013 - Ceci n'est pas un Vernissage; Chambers@916 Gallery; Portland, Oregon
2012 - Print Arts Northwest Residency Program: Recent Graduates; Stonehenge Studios, Portland, OR
2012 - The Printmaker's Hand II Juried Exhibition; Corvidae Press; Port Townsend, Washington
2012 - Cabinet of Curiosities; Photo & Print Gallery at PNCA; Portland, Oregon
2011 - PNCA BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition; Portland, Oregon
2011 - dear Korea,...; ChildU School; Incheon, South Korea
2011 - Spirit Animals; Santa Lucia Print Exchange; Courier Coffee, Portland, Oregon
2011 - 11th Annual BFA Juried Show PNCA Swigert Commons; Portland, Oregon
2010 - Mail Art!, Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art, Brittany, France
2009 - 15x15 Print Portfolio; Photography and Print Gallery at PNCA; Portland, Oregon
2009 - PNCA 9th Annual BFA Juried Show, Portland, Oregon
2007 - PNCA 7th Annual BFA Juried Show, Portland, Oregon
2006 - PNCA 6th Annual BFA Juried Show, Portland, Oregon


“Emotions pastel”, Explique moi l’art contemporain, July 9, 2018. (0nline)

“Submission Friday: Heather Lee Birdsong,” SFMOMA, March 23, 2018. (online)

Matthew A. Coleman, "Exhibition Review: The Space Between 0 and 1: Printmaking and Digital Technology in Portland", Art in Print, July–August 2016 (p. 37–38). (review, print)

Bob Hicks, “ArtsWatch Weekly: the language of bargains, a prints of a town,” Oregon ArtsWatch (Portland) March 29, 2016. (feature)

Richard Speer, "Ceci n'est pas un Vernissage," Willamette Week (Portland) February 16, 2013. (review, print and online)


“School’s Out: Tips and Tricks for Making Art on Your Own,” panelist (with Cynthia Lahti and Colin Kippen, moderated by Ben Buswell), Art Rock, PCC Rock Creek Campus, November 14, 2018.

“Diverse Careers in the Arts Roundtable, “ panelist, Prequel Artist Incubator, Portland, Oregon, July 20, 2015.

”Approaching Galleries,” Mixer Match Induction, guest presenter, co-sponsored by I Heart Art and Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, April 18, 2012.


Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College

Visual Chronicle of Portland (Regional Arts and Culture Council)

Southern Graphics Council International

University of Nevada Las Vegas

Pacific Northwest College of Art, Gilkey Studio Print Exchange Archives

Private collections of Jane Beebe, Eric S. Busch, Martha Morgan

Selected honors (critiques/juries)

2013-17 - Panelist, midterm thesis reviews, PNCA undergraduate department, Portland, OR

2017 - Blind panelist for student thesis defense, MFA in Applied Craft and Design, PNCA and OCAC, Portland, OR

2014 -  Juror, 14th Annual Pacific Northwest College of Art BFA Juried Show, Portland, OR

Professional experience

2013-present - Gallery manager at Upfor, Portland, OR

2015 - Guest teacher for Beginning Etching (teacher: Paul Mullowney), PNCA Continuing Education, Portland, OR

2012-14 - Teaching assistant for Beginning Etching (teacher: Heather McLaughlin), PNCA Continuing Education, Portland, OR

2011-12 - In-class studio monitor for Beginning Etching and Lithography (professor: Tom Prochaska), PNCA, Portland, OR

2010-13 - Communications designer, Chambers@916 Gallery, Portland, OR

2010-11 - Volunteer gallery coordinator, A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art, a project of the Oregon Women’s Caucus for Art, Portland, OR


Southern Graphics Council International (member)

Portland Art Museum Contemporary Art Council, 2014

Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts Alumni Association (member)