The exhibition title “The Wicker Person” is repurposed from the British folk horror film “The Wicker Man”, showcasing a sense of humor that buttresses much of Solano’s work while highlighting the initial fears and assumptions she had about her time in The Pines. In the film, a police officer searches for a missing girl on a remote island and discovers that inhabitants of the island practice Pagan rituals, like copulating openly in the fields and teaching the phallic association of the Maypole rituals. As highlighted in her initial BOFFO interview, Solano finds humor in much of the work she creates, even as the work broaches personal, difficult topics. This series of paintings follows suit, as humorous tales of her experiences at the Underwear Party and sex life are paired with feelings of self-consciousness and anxiety around living on a queer little island.
While the exhibition touches on serious themes, it has also inspired new methods of working for Solano that have potential to impact her practice in the future. Working outside of her comfort zone (away from her Berlin base) without the usual assistance, process, materials, and timeframe she is used to has required her to create work she might not have created otherwise. While she is used to working on a single painting for months to create figurations with a team, her BOFFO Residency has allowed her to paint mostly alone and within a three-week period, inspiring her to utilize text-based works that can convey her experience.
“I came to the island, to see what I could find. I knew it is no place for the blind and no place for a straight girl. I came knowing I’d have to work on making do. I have found affirmation, I have found warmth. I have found and met with disappointment, I have found a nice tan. I have found old demons and have found new blessings. I have found lovely surprises and have found myself apart. I would like to show you these paintings I made.”
“Manuel Solano and BOFFO encourage you to invite your straight friends, as this event is diverse and all sexualities and genders are welcome.” – Manuel Solano