When I saw it, I reared back my head with a brief but grotesque movement of my face and started laughing as the sheer size of the image ... respectfully of course because anything that gets such a strong reaction is a curiosity. Walter grinned with what I know was hidden laughter as he left me in the room with the gallery docent explaining the painting to me. It illustrates the idea of a mother god archetype that is considered in many traditions to be responsible for birth, death and renewal.
While studying the paintings, I also studied the reactions of people entering the gallery. Many raised their eyebrows or seemed to intentionally withhold a reaction before promptly leaving the room unless the gallery docent maintained their attention. Others specifically approached the docent for deeper inquiry. I sincerely wish it had occurred to me to catch their reactions on my blackberry - it would have been good for a few laughs later.
Walter joked "I wonder if people who work there go home with a touch of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder".
Neither of us are easily offended so we sent about 4 or 5 different curious people to the gallery to check it out.
Today - Walter sent me this note:
My old Experimental video professor Gene Youngblood once told the class when asked to define art "Who cares it it's 'art' as long as it makes you crazy."
So, take a look ... enjoy a good laugh ... be traumatized ... or ponder the deeper meaning. (That's a real corpse of an infant that Mr. Pfahl imported during a trip overseas)