CARL COWDEN III CARL COWDEN III CARL COWDEN III
CARL COWDEN III CARL COWDEN III CARL COWDEN III
 
 
The Monkey with a Gun

The Monkey with a Gun Series is derived from an obscure decorative element discovered in a clip-art book. The page is an elaborate boroque mural with many layers of design and artifice. The central vignette is a scene of lovers. On the right side of the lovers is an angry monkey with a gun and dead doves, on the left, a porcupine with a live dove. The symbolism so intrigued me that I redrew the image of the Monkey and began to screenprint the image in three colors, gold , black and white over a wide variety of large, screenprinted backgrounds. The backgrounds ranged from plain to complex and gave the Monkeys in the foreground a narrative context. I hand-painted over the prints to bring out or add details to make each of the prints unique. Over thirty prints take the Monkey through all the seasons, parts of the day and many continents.

The monkey is a symbol of man's primitive nature, and having a gun makes him all the more dangerous. The Monkey-with-a-Gun image is man-with-his-penis, with all its aggressive implications, including reproducing death, placed over lush environments, merely one cruel participant within a beautiful and complex world. The Monkeys were created from 1999 through 2002, during years of increased world aggression, adding special significance to the symbolism of the violence of mankind.