Jorge Blanco, renowned for his colorful sculpture installations with the lyricism and grand proportions that heighten a viewer’s sense of imagination, presents SOLO BLANCO at Alfstad& Contemporary, April 19 to May 19. This is Blanco’s first solo exhibition in Sarasota, where the Venezuela-born artist has lived and worked for two decades.
Jorge Blanco is celebrated for the geometric, often representational and always playful, industrial-inspired sculptures he first fabricated from thick flat slabs of painted wood, bronze, and most recently aluminum. Playing off of Alexander Calder’s Stabile’s of the 20th century, Blanco’s stationary abstract sculptures can portray figures, and everyday objects, with few simple forms. A semi-circle and hole become a Picasso-esque face on top of shapes perhaps pulled from a Miro painting that forms the foundation of the figure. The works, filled with humor and amusing proportions, evoke whimsy and delight.
In the early 1980s, the artist began receiving recognition for a comic strip he produced about an exiled man on a tiny island with a single palm tree–the perfect setting for a comical castaway. Simultaneously, Blanco was in charge of all graphics designed for the Museo de Los Niños de Caracas (Children’s Museum of Caracas), an institution comparable with a small Disney-land that aimed to teach children about science, technology, culture and arts.
Blanco created the museum’s mascot, a playful and curious child named Museito as well as the institution’s entire collection of graphics, signage, publications, animations and promotional materials. That playfulness and whimsy, along with the art historical reference of Klee, Calder and Miro is apparent in all of Blanco’s internationally acclaimed sculptures.
Jorge Blanco‘s sculptures can be found in private collections throughout more than 40 countries. The increasing monumentality of the artist’s works can now be found as public sculptures in 30 locations across the continents of South America, Asia and North America.
The Alfstad& Contemporary exhibition will to be the first to include both large and moderately scaled works by Blanco in the same setting. Included are nine powder coated aluminum sculptures ranging from tabletop scale to the 14-foot grand scale, Zephrous (the Messenger of Spring).
Blanco’s 18-foot-tall BRAVO! sculpture will be unveiled as the City of Sarasota’s newest Public Artwork during late summer.
The Opening Night Reception for Jorge Blanco: SOLO BLANCO is April 19, 5:30 to 9 p.m. The exhibition runs through May 19, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 to 5 p.m. at Alfstad& Contemporary at 1419 5th Street in the Design District, Sarasota.
About Jorge Blanco
Jorge Blanco immigrated to the United States in 1999. Irreverent and unconventional, his works are placed within public sites in the United States and on four continents. His early training was rooted in industrial design, and in 1970 he graduated from the prestigious Neumann Institute of Caracas in Venezuela. (In Venezuela he learned of artists such as Klee, Herbin, Calder and Miro who came to have a definitive influence upon his later work.) He went on to study at Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts, where he flourished surrounded by classical art.
In the early 1980s, his comic strip El Náufrago (The Castaway) won international acclaim for its refined humor and poetic philosophy. His sculptures retain this mentality, and Blanco has experimented with lycra, rope, wood, bronze and mirrors within his work, and in 1992 began to explore color and metal as a primary material. The sculptures, which are scattered across several parks in the United States, are geometric studies and interpretations of his internal world.