Floyd D. Tunson: Janus


Exhibition Inaugurating the Ent Center for the Arts

Colorado Springs, Colorado

February 1, 2018 – April 15, 2018


Given the turbulence of the times, it’s understandable that anyone familiar with Floyd

D. Tunson’s work might have assumed that the art in this exhibition would sting with social

commentary. But Tunson seldom does what anyone expects. For this show, he chose not to be

a political provocateur. He chose, as his subject, art itself. He chose the basics of visual

experience – line, color, form, and light. As a Janus, he looked to the past, to his experience

with these essential elements, and to the future to purify and refine them.


The motivation for his decision reveals the depth of Tunson’s mind. “The more horrifying this

world becomes,” said Paul Klee, “the more art becomes abstract.” But Tunson is wise: He

knows that a meaningful visual response to events requires time to contemplate, assimilate,

and evaluate. His choice of abstraction is no mere retreat from reality; rather, it derives from

the challenge of cutting through the chaos and rendering with clarity the most basic elements

of the visual experience in a way that engages the viewer in the process.


Because the subject of abstract art is not identifiable figuration, the work asks the viewer to

stand back and look at the whole piece, each small section, and the techniques and rhythms

that unify all the parts. The work cannot be comprehended in a rush any more than it could

have been painted in a rush, for Tunson had to make whatever effort was necessary to dig deep

into his imagination and exercise his unforgiving editorial eye before allowing any piece to leave

his studio.


In the spirit of Janus, he sees the Ent Arts Center as a physical and inspirational gateway to a

new level of all the arts for the region, and he has often expressed his gratitude for the

opportunity to initiate the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery. It is in this context that he chose an art

genre that inspires a look back and a look ahead to the fundamental things, but never in a tired,

simplistic way. “Of all the arts,” said early abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky,” abstract painting is

the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened

sensitivity for composition and for color, and that you are a true poet. This last is essential.”

Floyd D. Tunson is a true poet.