Shumate Spotlight: Reg Zehner's tour of Love Rollercoaster

Reg Zehner & Dionne Custer Edwards

Nov 24, 2020

Gallery view of the exhibition Tomashi Jackson: Love Rollercoaster at the Wexner Center for the Arts

For more than a decade,the Shumate Council has been a Wex leadership group supported by a generous endowment from Renée and Alex Shumate. Council members and other partners collaborate with the Center on opportunities and methods for engaging Black audiences and contemporary art, including contributing essays engaging directly with contemporary art and related issues.

For our latest spotlight on the work emerging from the Shumate Council Blog, Reg Zehner takes us for a walk through the exhibition Tomashi Jackson: Love Rollercoaster. The five new paintings in the gallery are centered on themes of voter disenfranchisement and suppression in Ohio and each contains physical evidence of this struggle. With the Wex having just closed temporarily due to community COVID-19 levels, Zehner's video tour couldn't come at a better time.

"As I’m walking through this space, it’s not just these five works that draw me in to their bright and colorful textured material. Actually, it’s the sound," Zehner says in his gallery talk. "In Love Rollercoaster, there is a sound element where Jackson explores and asks Black community members about their history of voting and their personal struggles. She asked, 'What do you remember about the first time you voted? Or how has voting changed for you over time?' These questions and conversations fill the space as you’re walking through the images that peer back abstractly. I find these works with these images so intertwined with the sound. The layering of different voices and the layering of these images, both connect to a problem and also a fight that Black communities have been working on for generations, the voting and democratic system of the United States of America."

Watch the video here.

Reg Zehner is a curator, writer, DJ and sculptor whose work explores the abstraction of Black American histories, sonic intimacies and digital images. They co-founded Friend, an artist platform promoting creatives of color, and they participate in Lava Reign, a Black DJ collection. Reg has presented research on digital intimacy and the spectral hauntings of land and Blackness. This past spring, Reg graduated with a BFA in the History of Art and Visual Culture from Columbus College of Art and Design. Currently they are working on building educational models on abolition, organizing and world building.


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