Based in Toronto, Schust received his MFA in 2014 from the University of Guelph, and his BA in 2009 from the University of Waterloo. In 2016, he presented a solo show titled Working Space at Open Sesame in Kitchener. Recent group exhibitions include Renann Isaacs Contemporary in Guelph and Xpace Cultural Centre in Toronto.
Schust’s paintings are concerned with the tradition of formalism and are rooted in geometric abstraction, colour field painting, minimalism, and neo-geo. These twentieth-century movements offer insight into the way his paintings function, as they often employ straightforward compositional strategies combined with various chromatic investigations into the formal and pictorial properties of painting. He engages with these historical precedents using his own idiosyncratic language, manipulating space, colour, and line to create a number of optical effects.
Betraying its immediate graphic simplicity, Schust’s work rewards close and slow observation through vibrating layers of colour and trompe l’oeil effects. The interpretation of his paintings is complicated by characteristics that insistently allude to forms outside of the domain of ‘pure’ abstraction, such as diagrammatic plans or commercial design and layout. These external elements are not literal representations of real-world structures, but rather function as armature to support his exploration of space, composition, and colour. Schust strives for a fluid and ambiguous relationship between a painting and its references, so that his work is neither divorced from the world, nor dependent on it.
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