August’s Show at The Modbo: Floyd D. Tunson: Works on Paper


The Modbo presents August’s First Friday: “Floyd D. Tunson: Works on Paper.”  The opening reception is from 5:00 pm until midnight on Friday, August 2nd, with live music by My Name is Harriett at 7 and 9 pm.  The show runs through Friday, August 30th. In addition to the opening reception, the gallery is open on Friday evenings from 4-7 pm or by appointment.  The Modbo is located in the Arts Alley in downtown Colorado Springs at 17C E. Bijou. Find the stretch of Bijou that is between Cascade and Tejon, and go south down the alley. Street parking is available, but The Modbo recommends the lot on Cascade just north of Bijou, which is only $1 after 3 pm. The Modbo can be reached at,, or 633-4240.

Of all the traditional tools and evolving technologies available to an artist, there’s only one that Floyd D. Tunson cannot do without: “Just give me a pencil,” he says, “because drawing is the basis of everything I do.”  For the work in this show, that “pencil” is a Uni-ball pen. And what sounds simple is simply not. The process is tricky, given the tension between control and inhibition – a sort of Hamlet dilemma, in which “thinking too precisely on th’ event,” can result in “one part wisdom and ever three parts coward.” Since a direct ink-drawn image on paper can’t be cleaned up the way a pencil drawing or a painted canvas can, the strokes have to be thoughtful, but freedom for happy coincidence has to be allowed. This dialectic is evident in the totality of the work, where certain drawings seem more tightly controlled than others, although each piece relies on the tension. A close viewing of each is a chance to follow the artist’s hand – the hesitations, the exuberance, the energy.

In the Kabuki Knot series, the composition is architectural, but creating it is a completely intuitive process. When Tunson sets pen to paper, he allows an innate sense of design to automatically compose a continuous image. In the Monsters series, the details are calculated to suggest that these despots and demons are scarcely exaggerations of the diabolical forces at work in the world.

Concepts, calculation, accidents, experience – all come into play in the process as the artist hopes for a wow.

Born in Denver in 1947, Floyd D. Tunson has worked over forty years in drawing, photography, painting, mixed media, sculpture, and installation. In 1971, after serving in the Army, he began a teaching career in Colorado Springs. In 1998 he earned an MA degree from Adams State College.  Tunson has exhibited throughout the Rocky Mountain region, including at the Robischon Gallery (Denver), Redline Gallery (Denver), Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Denver Art Museum, Yellowstone Art Museum, Arvada Art Center, University of Colorado, 516 Arts (Albuquerque), and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Certain of his work draws from his experience as an African-American male; other work reflects a broad view of the world, including global politics, art history, and beauty for beauty’s sake. In 2012-2013, Son of Pop, a forty-year retrospective, was hosted by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. In 2018, he exhibited new work for the premier of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery at the Ent Center for the Arts. In 2013, Tunson was the subject of a video interview by Rocky Mountain PBS. He has been reviewed in Westword, the Denver Post, Art Ltd, and Art Forum.