Westhay, Somerset

Terry Flaxton’s artwork in response to Westhay nature reserve is linked to that made in King’s Canyon, 10,000 miles away. At the nature reserve, his deep sense of place led him to create a complex mosaic response. Flaxton moved to Somerset 25 years ago to escape ‘the linear tendencies of the art world’; today the area is more popular, more regulated, and more political than when he first arrived; ‘you now have to look beneath the surface to find what’s real’.

Despite modernisation, the historic character of Somerset still carries force, as does the burl of the language of Somerset people who said things like: “Do thee tell I what thou b’ainst be dwan?” (what are you’re doing?)

With this piece and its partner in King’s Canyon, Flaxton works with proximity and distance, finding familiarity in far countries or the landscape close by. The interplay between familiarity and distance connects two far-off places and emphasises the particular atmospherics and frisson involved in representing place.

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