In BMoCA’s East and West Galleries, Floyd Tunson gets a retrospective in Hearts & Minds, a collection of characteristic works in assorted media that reflects African-American culture.
Long before the Million Man March descended on Washington, D.C., Colorado Springs artist Floyd Tunson was deliberating on the identity of the contemporary young black man in America. Tunson’s beautifully painted, brilliantly colored oils are often searing and always thoughtful. A golden canary is placed alongside a young black boy with wistful eyes. Is he the first sign of a society unraveling at the edges — just as a canary warns miners about the presence of explosive gases? Or maybe he’s as fragile and innocent as the small bird. Tunson’s paintings are filled with puzzles and metaphors.
“In the words Hearts and Minds there is an implied struggle between intuition and intellect. Floyd Tunson has for decades intuitively pursued his inner artistic pleasures and conflicts into figurative and abstract forms. Like many great artists who follow their heart, Tunson has abandoned a certain degree of worldly success in exchange for a pure uncompromised voice. The work in this exhibition is from that perspective as it responds to an outside world too overwhelming with dichotomy to ignore.
For Tunson, loss (a kind of gray zone) exists between perception and reality and between media and truth. This gray zone has been formulated into a larger, more complex loss—that of cultural identity. Faces (Heads) as they appear in Tunson’s strange and painterly surfaces, in color and in black and white, are bigger than life. They symbolize expiring innocence and identity arising in African-American youth while recalling black history. This loss is further revealed and mourned in Tunson’s choice of the stylistic approaches to working such as brutal abstract expressionism or sensative assemblage icons and words from transitory popular culture."
-Cydney Peyton Director of BMoCA