My husband Walter - who is the adventurous type - has no interest in even hanging out in the same room with Charles Pfahl's newest work. We saw it in the Altitude gallery recently where Pfahl's "Archetype" is hanging prominently by the entry of the main room.
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)