The wife of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Brown (search) denounced a computer-generated photo showing her husband's head being tossed by his Democratic opponent.

The photo also drew sharp criticism from Democratic candidate Brian Schweitzer (search), who said Monday he had already asked the artist to apologize. The artist apparently entered the photo at the Marias County Fair and won a blue ribbon over the weekend for the picture, Sue Brown said.

In an unusual move, Brown joined her husband at a news conference Monday and asked for a few moments with reporters afterward. She showed a copy of the framed artwork, in which a smiling Schweitzer is depicted tossing Brown's head like a football.

Sue Brown said the artist, whose identity she did not know, may have been trying to "make a political statement," but that the picture was inappropriate, especially given the recent beheadings of hostages in Iraq.

"It's at best pretty macabre humor and certainly pretty insensitive," said Sue Brown, a high school literature teacher. "For the life of me, I still can't figure it out."

Schweitzer said he received an e-mail Friday from the artist, but did not view the attached picture until Monday. "I asked him to send an apology to the Brown campaign," Schweitzer said. "I was a little disturbed myself."

Schweitzer said the picture appears to have been made from a photo taken of him at a recent parade where he was tossing a football with some children.

Brown and Schweitzer are running to replace Gov. Judy Martz.