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A Lone Astronaut Traverses a Pop Culture Post-Apocalypse

A crop of a new painting by Scott Listfield.
A crop of a new painting by Scott Listfield.
Image: Scott Listfeld/Spoke Art

The work of artist Scott Listfield is unmistakable. Not because of his vivid landscapes. Not because of his brash exploration of pop culture and advertising. No, it’s that damned astronaut in the middle that gives it away.

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Yes, Scott Listfield’s trademark lone astronaut is back in his latest solo exhibition, Quarantine, presented by Spoke Art and opening in New York City on September 19. These new works show the character exploring a world not unlike our own. The scenes look very much like the ones you actually might encounter in these same places—if a global health pandemic suddenly went even worse than it already has.

Here’s a small selection of work.

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It’s a lovely set of work with some subtle, and not-so-subtle, nods to the world today. Really, Outbreak and I Am Legend back in theaters? Now?

“I began working on this series of paintings while the world was in lockdown,” Listfield wrote in a press release. “Most of the planet was stuck at home riding out a pandemic unlike anything we’ve experienced in 100 years. City streets were empty, buildings boarded up, coyotes and tumbleweeds inhabited downtown. I began to hear from people that the real world was looking more and more like one of my paintings. Needless to say, this gave me pause. It’s always good as an artist to feel like you’re in the zeitgeist. It’s another thing entirely to get the uneasy feeling that you’ve predicted a fairly bleak present. I was struggling with what to do with this knowledge.”

“My work is very much about exploration,” he continues. “All I’ve had to explore recently is the darker depths of my own mind. And so in these new paintings, the astronaut that roams my work wanders through deserted cities literally tipping and falling. Where gravity has its own free will. Bits and pieces of a recognizable pop culture landscape fall through these scenes sideways, toppling along with statues.”

Things break. Things burn. But the astronaut, like us, keeps going.”

Quarantine runs from September 19-October 10 at the Hashimoto Contemporary, 210 Rivington St., New York, NY; masks are required, and you’ll need to go here to make an appointment.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

Kinda disappointed he went with “I am Legend” rather than the thematic (and much better) 12 Monkeys.