The Consciousness of Trees is the culmination of an inquiry into drawing, inscription & abstraction. One of the simplest acts an artist can make is the direct hand/eye coordination that is the series of marks on paper called ‘a drawing’ (within Portraits of New York, available on Sedition, there is a attempt to refine the image down to ‘the line’). In Drawings and Inscriptions, also available on Sedition, the idea that inscription may only happen in a durable material is interrogated within a medium that could be argued is ephemeral.
In these works, abstraction goes beyond figuration to formulate a symbolic or conceptual language that transcends anthropocentric mark making. With this work there is a step-change up from abstraction because there is no intention to utilize mark-making to depict a concept via visual reference within the work (though these may be found inside the work). The intention here is to go beyond symbolic or allegorical processes to evoke a new function of ‘entrainment’ between artwork and viewer. Here, Flaxton is interested in exploring what he imagines to be the ‘consciousness’ of trees. Here he is proposing a different way to interpret a subject than that which is offered by drawing, inscription or abstraction.