By Rodger Skidmore | May 1, 2018
Yes, Sole in Italian means “sun” while in English solo means “alone.” And in the art world “solo” means showing the work of an artist who is a star (sun), but not next to the work of any other artist (alone), This definition is quite apropos for the new installation – Solo Blanco – at the Alfstad& Contemporary Gallery on 5th Street between Central and N. Lemon Avenues. From when you read this until the 19th of May, small, intermediate and large works by the Venezuela-born artist, and long-time resident of Sarasota, Jorge Blanco will be on display.
And when referring to the works of Blanco, “play” is the operative word. Not that all of his sculptures are funny (although some are), but some are simply playful. Take an avocado. Yes, take one, not just because they are good for you and also taste great, but because Blanco’s look great. Actually better than any avocado you’ve ever seen in your life. And his watermelon…and carrots…and tomato – one can imagine Fresh Market, Lucky’s or some other store that sells fresh produce buying one of each sculpture for every one of their stores – at least in Sarasota. While his avocado or watermelon can be displayed on a table or pedestal in your living room, some of his pieces are a bit larger. One of them (14 feet tall) barely fit through the Alfstad& gallery door. Another, even larger abstract piece, is so big that the City of Sarasota is going to display it at the intersection of Ringling Blvd. and Orange Avenue and then build a roundabout surrounding it so that cars don’t bump into it. Other, more playful pieces, may be seen on N. Tamiami Trail between the Sarasota Art Center and Municipal Auditorium (The Runners), on Boulevard of the Arts (Smile) and in the courtyard of Gulf Gate Elementary School (Cartwheel). His intermediate size pieces are great for putting around the pool, on your front lawn – right on top of where you buried your first spouse – or next to your key lime tree. The nice thing about these sculptures is that, if you have an SUV, you can take one home (I think they might even install it for you).
If Juan Miro, Auguste Herbin or Pablo Picasso were alive right now, what phases would they be going through? Perhaps they would be copying Blanco in either his playfully abstract-representationalist phase or in his semi-representational playful abstractions. More information at alfstadand.com.