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Junior Conceptual: A Junior Conceptual Project by Mikele Baugh (2016)

Click to read Artist Statement
My conceptual art piece is based on my poem ''Neglectful Mind.'' This poem describes how a shadow causes a desert to acknowledge something important that it ignores. The first stanza introduces how the shadow ''[haunts] the barren landscape.'' The shadow grows more prominent, until in the final stanza, the shadow finally forces the desert to face what is ''known and neglected.'' As I contemplated the metaphors and meanings of my poem, I focused on how the desert is a metaphor for the mind. A desert is a plain landscape that allows for little things to stand out, but also to be hidden. Someone’s mind can conjure up any thought, but it also can strongly oppose something. These ideas brought me to the concept of how we can become trapped within ourselves and our own thoughts. The shadow in my poem is actively calling something to the desert’s attention, which brought about the idea of how it is impossible to get yourself to not think of something (i.e. if you try to not think about something, you will undoubtedly think about it).

My piece is a mousetrap baited with a globe, with a shadow of a hand about to trigger the trap. The shadow of the hand is seen on a grey wall; the wall represents the grey matter of the brain while the shadow of the hand represents the conscious mind. The globe represents anything that can draw the mind’s focus, with the strongest usually derived from outside influences. With focus on the shadow, the globe is blurred. Just like how the globe is still easily identifiable and black and white, things that we get stuck on, or mentally trapped by, may be recognizable with time and focus but in the moment are not always seen clearly. Our attention gets glued to something and before we have a chance to properly evaluate it, we are left with consequences that have the potential to harm us in some way. Sometimes, we blatantly ignore what is right in front of us, even if we know of this potential harm. When photographing my concept, I found that the lighting was the most difficult aspect, especially considering its crucial role in my piece. My selections while editing also proved to be troublesome.
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