Text and photos by Clare Gemima
Rebecca Goyette's My Snake is Bigger Than Your Snake
Freight + Volume Gallery, 97 Allen St.
My Snake is Bigger Than Your Snake is definitely a sight for sore eyes from the instant you stand in front of Freight + Volume on Allen Street.
Visible before entering the gallery, a video of humans in dog suits giving birth, humping and licking all sorts of different things invites onlookers shamelessly into the space.
Regardless of this show’s potent R18 feel, colors explode playfully throughout the gallery as you experience the artist’s multifaceted skill set displayed through illustration, soft sculpture, video work, and in her most exciting execution, ceramics.
Reading about this show, I discovered so much extrapolated narrative attached to it that I would like to encourage readers to visit and interpret the art for themselves. I say this because often the charm of a great show is rubbed away by some forceful and didactic description that 1) an average gallery-goer may never read in the first place and 2) is a load of just utter, out-of-touch bullshit.
I think the conflict I face regarding this show is that the work is outstandingly attractive to me, yet it presents a dense amount of self-involvement and inaccessible self-consciousness that it becomes less about the beauty of the objects and more about the artist’s lived experience. I can’t tell if this is a good thing or not, but there is so much going on — a successful mind-fuck above all else.
There is strong authorship in the show that guides viewers through a personal story of Goyette involving the sale of her father's house after he had passed away. The new home-owner turned out to be a right-wing and starchy bum-hole Trump supporter who is crafted (life-size) for a full-on confrontation as you enter the space. He’s grotesque to look at, drowning in snakes and dressed in politically indicative attire.
This recurring "Snake Man" debuts as No. 1 enemy to our hero and protagonist, Rebecca Goyette, aka Lobsta Queen. The dogs have human dicks, the humans each have two dicks, a group of sausages throws a party, and the art of sex is celebrated positively, strikingly, abjectly.
Evidence for an aforementioned mind-fuck of a show is particularly blatant in Goyette's collection of ceramics, which are by far the most enticing part of My Snake is Bigger Than Your Snake. Her drawings are particularly tantalizing as well (think animal kingdom stampeding through a Grayson Perry tapestry).
Go inside the mind of a tortured artist who chooses to torment her audience for fun with child-like and extremely perverse make-believe scenarios.
My Snake is Bigger Than Your Snake will be showing at Freight +Volume, 97 Allen St., until May 16.
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Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: claregemima.com