Some of his pieces smack of a purposely sugarcoated veneer. One of them, Foreign Soil, features a ballerina's pointe shoes tiptoeing over a thicket of knives while a toy soldier poises himself for combat.
The Mission is framed by battleships surrounding a minefield of thorns and mousetraps, against which the silhouette of a cowboy rides on a bucking bronco. It's a stab against gunboat diplomacy; it also suffers in comparison to Blanco's more visceral sculptural works.
Toy Tank: We surrender, already.
"Violent Toys": Through January 29. Contemporánea Fine Art, 1550 SW 8th St, Miami; 305-642-3080.
Perhaps the most unusual piece in the show is a circular sculpture reminiscent of a dog chasing its tail. Titled Round, the piece is a washtub-size, doughnut-shape Miami-Dade school bus full of multiracial Barbie dolls. Blanco calls the work an exploration of the policy of public school integration during the Sixties.
It seems more an apt metaphor for Blanco's coming full cycle and returning to doing what he loves after ditching his suit and wingtips. "It's been liberating in the sense that I no longer have to worry about making presentations and can focus on making things that reflect how I feel. It's difficult for anybody living through these times to remain on the fence," he says and then pauses. "It seems clear to me that the issues we face are black-and-white and easy to see."
Addressing his resurrected art career, Blanco is quick to point out we should be careful what we wish for.
"I would call mine a cautionary tale for people who dream. Art is a business," he says. "You produce; then you have to find a way to show your work and to sell. I found myself shaking hands and slapping backs all over again."
Blanco remains encouraged, because he sold five pieces in his first public foray during Art Miami in 2006.
"I sold $22,000 worth of work, which is not bad for a fresh start out of the gate. But once I figured out the numbers and the time it took me to produce the work, it all came out to about 25 cents an hour," he peals.