A taxidermized deer head bursts out of the wall at the entrance to Jarrett Mitchell's show at Organism, greeting you as you walk through a barbed-wire fence disturbingly evocative of prisons or concentration camps. Mitchell's show is called The Dawn of the Birth of the Battle of Right to Life vs. the Law of Death, an overlong and pretentious title for what turns out to be an earnest and oddly engaging show. Mitchell has lived and made art around the world but now resides in Kentucky, where he has become obsessed with the phenomenon of car-deer collisions. His show features graphic pictures of deer as roadkill, the fender of a car that collided with a deer, amateurish paintings of bloody deer, and a digital video in which people recount their collisions with the animals. It takes a while to realize that The Dawn... isn't intended as ironic, but is an emotionally sincere look at the phenomenon of human and beast unwittingly crossing paths, to the detriment of both. This is a strange pick for the fledgling Organism's inaugural outing, but it telegraphs that founder Jeff Jahn has the smarts to mount quirky conceptual shows by nationally known artists, rather than using Organism as a platform for his standard Ehlis-Conkle-Pfeiffer aesthetic. 107 NW 5th Ave., fourth floor, 998-0422. Closes Jan. 28.
Pulliam Deffenbaugh's fabulous Yoshihiro Kitai moonlights at Portland Art Center with a stunning show of works on paper—except that "works on paper" hardly conveys the shimmering energy of these gold-leaf clouds and sprawling, inventive forms. 32 NW 5th Ave., 236-3322. Closes Dec. 23.
Seattle painter Aaron Jefferson shows creamy abstract and semi-abstract works at Sugar, juxtaposing smoothness and mutant textures in compositions that sometimes recall the outline of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. 625 NW Everett St., #108, 425-9628. Closes Jan. 3.
Photographer Joshua Kim fills the back room of Rake with hundreds of party snapshots, ordering them into an installation that viewers can walk around. A column of photos and disposable cameras rises in the installation's center, an obelisk suggesting a timelessness that belies the party pics' transitory nature. 325 NW 6th Ave., 750-0754. Closes Dec. 30.