Scott Listfield's "Symbols"

Currently on view in Portland, Oregon at Antler Gallery is People's Printshop artist Scott Listfield's solo exhibition, "Symbols."

As there's a lot unpack with this exhibition, Scott has written about it below (Originally sent in an email from Scott):

"So, I have a show opening. Today, actually. Sorry for the short notice, but this show has taken a very nonlinear path, and I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to happen at all. It was originally planned to be in Oslo, Norway. Almost exactly a year ago, Neil Perry and Susannah Kelly, the wonderful people who run Antler Gallery in Portland, pitched me the idea of having a small solo show in Oslo, alongside a larger group exhibition we would curate together. It was a truly amazing opportunity and I was so thankful for them of thinking of me. All went smoothly until just a few days before I was set to depart for Europe, earlier this month. I didn’t know exactly what was going on at the time, but within a few days I heard the news. Susannah had very suddenly fallen ill, and passed away.

I really don’t know what else I can say about this. Susannah and Neil are two of the absolute kindest people I have ever met in the art world. Or for that matter, in any world. It’s really a great loss for all of us. But, of course, it’s a much greater loss for Neil, and for the rest of Susannah’s extended family.

Needless to say, the show as it was suppose to happen, in Oslo, was canceled. As it should have been. There are much bigger things than art show, and this was an unfortunate reminder of that. Now if it were me, I don’t know, I’d probably crawl into a hole for a good long while. But Neil is far more resilient than I am. And so after taking some time to grieve, he launched himself back into the gallery that he and his wife had built up from nothing. The show opens tonight, not in Oslo, but in the Antler space in Portland, OR. I can’t tell you how much I admire Neil for doing this, despite everything he’s been through. If you’re in the area, please stop by and pay your respects, either this evening or while the show is up. If you’d like to support the gallery, there is a memorial fund in Susannah’s name, to cover her medical costs and also hopefully set up an artist’s fund in her name, which you can find here. Or you can email to get access to the show online and support them in that way.

Here’s what I wrote about my paintings for this show before it all went sideways:

I made 10 new paintings for a my solo show, all inspired by northern landscapes, mixed with wildlife and symbols pulled from tarot cards,vintage tattoos, and old manuscripts. I wanted to capture the feeling of entering a quiet snowy forest alone and seeing your breath. Of watching a solitary crow land nearby and give you a meaningful look. Of walking an old mountain path and feeling your own story being added to that of everyone else who had walked that way.

I don't often use words like "spiritual" or "mysticism" when it comes to my work. More often I'm thinking about science or music or Burger King. Things a bit more grounded in my day to day life. But for this show, I will be traveling to Scandinavia for the first time. I'll be traveling in Europe alone for a while, which for me conjures memories of a very distant time in my life which first inspired my astronaut paintings. And then I'll be meeting up with my brother to visit the small towns in Latvia and Lithuania where some of my ancestors come from. I've been thinking about all of this while working on the show - visiting far off places I've never been. Visiting places I don't know at all, and yet places where many generations of my family once lived. I tried to channel some of those feelings into this work.

I just returned from the trip mentioned above. It was really quite an amazing journey, although there was, of course, a sadness that hung over it. In particular the time I spent in Oslo, where I should have been enjoying the city with Neil and Susannah.

Despite Oslo doing it’s best to charm me, that part felt hollowed out. The purpose of it gone. A sadness lingering over everything. One of the artists from the show, Elizabeth Livingston, also flew out to Oslo for the show which didn’t happen. Too late for either of us to cancel our plans. We spent a day wandering the city, and she had the inspired and really lovely idea to light a candle for Susannah at the big cathedral in the center of town. Neither she, nor I, were especially religious. Hell, I’m Jewish. And I don’t presume to know anything about whether Susannah was religious, either, but I didn’t think it was about religion so much as visiting a sacred space and saying the name of someone I’ll miss seeing very much. Of course by the time we got there, the cathedral in Oslo was closed.


But at the next stop in my travels, Riga, Latvia, I found a church that was open.

I’m almost done with this very long and occasionally sad message. I promise to get back to more normal messages in the future that don’t make you - or I - feel lots of things we don’t really want to feel. Before I go, though, I wanted to thank each of the artists who are in the group show Wilderness, also opening this evening at Antler Gallery. They’ve been tremendously supportive and thoughtful and caring throughout the uncertainty of this show. I hope we can one day look back on this as something important we all did together. And maybe we’ll do it again someday under better circumstances. Vanessa Foley, Alex Warnick, Shae Warnick, Gustavo Rimada, Alvaro Naddeo, Amy Sol, Chris Austin, Elizabeth Livingston, Emily Ding, Heather Sundquist Hall, Imagine 876, Josie Morway, Mwanel Pierre-Louis, Kaetlyn Able, David Rice, Nika Mtwana, Ken Flewellyn, Kristin Moore, Steve Martinez, Alex Garant, Dewi Plass, and Zach Mendoza."

View some of Scott's new works below: