Elizabeth G. Kuhn

Monkey See Monkey Need, 1997

Quadruple weave pick-up with embroidery

38" x 38"

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Happiness has become, in our time, equated with personal wealth and numerous possessions.  Some people spend a whole lifetime in pursuit of money and the things it can buy, often having no time to enjoy what they already possess.  Many make no time to develop personal relationships, which may be the real key to happiness.

The title is a tongue-in-cheek variation of the saying "Monkey See Monkey Do," and a spoof about the desire of a great many people in our society to own a vast number of material things.  It is also a statement about the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses," and a testament to the effectiveness of mass media advertising.  Consistent with the title, the man image has sprouted a monkey tail, and is seen grasping the tail of the man higher up (representing a more prestigious or higher-paying position) than he is, trying to pull himself up into the realm of conspicuous consumption (here represented by the large car, big house, yacht, and jewelry).  The coins and the dollar signs of the middle and outer borders signify the wealth needed to participate in our societal spending frenzy.  The pinnacle is represented by the golden ring in the very center, to which the four central figures are clinging for dear life.  This is the first of my weaving in which a motif (in this case, the figures of the man) has spanned the whole piece to connect the entire composition together by means of a repeated image.

Exhibitions of Monkey See Monkey Need
  • Perspectives: Contemporary Work in Textiles, Massillon Museum, Massillon, Ohio, 1997
  • 10th Annual Fiber Arts Competition and Exhibition, Creative Arts Guild, Dalton, Georgia, 1997
  • Emerging Artists - Fibers, The Society of Arts and Crafts, Arch Street Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, 1998
  • The Mayfair National Juried Fine Craft Exhibition, National Juried Fine Craft Exhibition, Mayfair Festival of the Arts, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1998 (Mimi Miley Curator's Choice)
  • Show 5, Matrix Gallery, Sacramento, California, 1998
  • Materials Hard and Soft, Center for the Visual Arts, Denton, Texas, 1999
  • Best of 1999, Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, Ohio, 1999
  • Best of 1999, The Southern Ohio Museum, Portsmouth, Ohio, 1999
  • The Practiced Hand: Surface Design & Textiles, Warner Gallery, South Bend Regional Museum of Arts, South Bend, Indiana, 1999
  • Messages and Meanings in Woven Cloth, (MFA Exhibition), Gallery 138, Kent, Ohio, 2000
  • Uncommon Threads: Contemporary Regional Textiles, Museum in the Community, Hurricane, West Virginia, 2000
  • Pattern By Definition, Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas, 2001
  • Fine Craft 2001, Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts at the Depot, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2001
  • Fred Wells National Juried Exhibition 25, Vance D. Rogers Center for the Fine Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2002
  • The Woven Comment, Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, Kentucky, 2002
  • The Woven Comment, Ginko Gallery, Oberlin, Ohio 2003
  • Modern Iconography, Claypool-Young Art Gallery, Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky, 2003
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