A London gallery has removed a semi-nude painting of a woman from an exhibition, apparently because viewers couldn't handle the depiction of a small strip of pubic hair.

The painting, Leena McCall's "Portrait of Ms. Ruby May, Standing," was part of the Society of Women Artists' annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, but the venue reportedly deemed the work "too pornographic and disgusting" to remain hanging.

"After a number of complaints regarding the depiction of the subject and taking account of its location en route for children to our Learning Centre, we requested the painting was removed," the Mall Galleries said in a statement.

McCall believes the piece was taken down "because Ruby meets your gaze."

"She's not a shy, timid woman; it's not pornography in the sense of 'Here I am, come and get me!' It's very much an equal gaze and that was the whole purpose of the painting," McCall told Vocativ.

The gallery made her point for her when it replaced her painting with a nude piece by another artist. A clothed woman displaying her tattoos and just a hint of pube is apparently inappropriate for "children and vulnerable adults," but there's nothing wrong with full nudity.

[H/T Vocativ, Photo: Leena McCall]