Tajh Rust (b. 1989) is a visual artist based in New York. He received his MFA from Yale in 2019 and BFA from Cooper Union in 2011. Rust was in the inaugural group of artists participating in the Black Rock Senegal artist residency in 2019.Recent group exhibitions include Black Rock 40, Dakar, Senegal (2022); Fire Figure Fantasy, ICA Miami (2022); Open Call, The Shed, New York (2021); and I will wear you in my heart of heart, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2021).
Through figuration and abstraction, he explores the relationships between black identity and space. These paintings draw inspiration from a multitude of source material. He paints from life, photography, film, and his imagination. By using various references, he pieces together a complex and layered atmosphere. His figures are placed in settings that appropriate elements from films, or are represented in places of their own choosing. The desire is always to expand our understanding and appreciation of the mundane. The compositions allude to a cinematic drama or emotion, but instead the focus is turned towards the intimate moments. He is interested in drawing connections primarily between people across the black diaspora, and uses his own travels to inform this exploration, incorporating people from the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Americas. The work communicates a range of affect through the manipulation of color, text, facial expressions, body language, and symbolic motifs—thus complicating the boundaries between realism and surrealism.