28 Apr Scott Listfield: New Show
We are proud to present the new exhibition ‘An American Astronaut in London’ by American artist Scott Listfield.
Scott Listfeild is known for his paintings that feature a lone exploratory astronaut, lost in landscapes which are cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references. For the last fifteen years Listfield has exhibited his oil paintings featuring the astronaut protagonist in solo exhibitions throughout America. Having featured in past group shows (LAX/LHR, Reasons for the Seasons) this will be Listfield’s inaugural solo show at StolenSpace Gallery and in the UK.
As such, this new series of work sees his astronauts explore the city of London. Having been heavily influenced by British culture in the 1990s, Listfield plays homage to this time in his life using British urban landscapes as his backdrop and referencing iconic British music of the era; Pulp, Blur, The Stone Roses, and the Spice Girls to name a few. Using his astronauts, he takes us on an alternative journey through the streets of London, creating a strange world of the familiar yet surreal.
We caught up with Scott ahead of the opening next Thursday 5th May.
Tell us a bit about the title of your latest solo exhibition, “An American Astronaut in London”. What is it about?
Well I’ve been painting the titular astronaut now for quite some time. In the works in this show, my first solo show in London, the astronaut explores scenes from an empty London, strangely stuck in time in the mid 1990’s. It’s unclear if the city has been abandoned for two decades, or if this is some alternate world where 90’s British culture has become weirdly eternal. For me, as an American, it allowed me to think back to a time when I was a young artist and still figuring out who I was, and what I wanted to make paintings of.
Music, movies, and pop culture from the UK were hugely influential for me at the time, and helped me start to think of a larger world beyond the confines of the culture I grew up in. I spent some time in the late 90’s wandering around Europe, and that feeling of exploration, wonder, and cultural disconnect strongly influenced these astronaut paintings I started to make a few years later. It felt kind of natural to dive back into those influences for this show.
What would you say is this show’s most significant difference from your last shows?
This show has a very distinct sense of place. In most of my shows, the astronaut explores a number of different environments, some specific, some less so. I really wanted this show to be centred in and around London. All of my work has an astronaut in it, and I don’t think it’s a huge leap for people to look at them and piece together how they work together to tell a story. But I think these paintings are linked together in a way that makes them kind of unique from other shows I’ve done.
What is the significance of the astronaut? What does he symbolise?
I spent my childhood mostly watching cartoons about the far off year 2001, daydreaming about what kind of flying car my robot best friend and I would travel around in when I grew up. When I actually reached adulthood, I found myself in the world’s fourth smallest studio apartment, cooking single serve pizzas on a hot plate, and watching telenovelas at the local laundromat as my jeans spin dried. I had spent some time in school traveling, and now that I was back home, and working a mundane job, the world still felt strange and foreign to me. I wanted to make a series of paintings about these feelings of alienation and exploration, and I wanted to have a protagonist who would appear in each one. Around this time I watched the Stanley Kubrick film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey” for the first time and I realized that the astronaut from the fictional 2001, the one I thought we’d be living in, would be the ideal character to have explore the strange, mundane, and occasionally beautiful 21st century we’ve actually built for ourselves.
‘An American Astronaut in London’ opens Thursday 5th May, 6pm – 9pm and will run until 29th May