Last Thursday Family Books hosted the opening exhibition and release party for Afternoon, a new book by LA artist Ashley Snow Macomber with accompanying songs by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Macomber’s hauntingly beautiful watercolors from the book will be on display at Family until March 9th. Afternoon, published by Black Tent Press, features hand printed serigraph covers and 24 pages of Macomber’s paintings. The pleasingly large (11′ x 15″) books are a steal at $30 and include a 10″ vinyl EP of two songs by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy inspired by the piece. The songs will only be released here so Oldham fans should stock up fast (the book is a limited edition of 1000).
Macomber’s inspiration for the book comes from an adaptation of the poem “L’apres midi d’un faune” written by Stephane Mallarme in 1865. The poem inspired a Claude Debussy score in 1894 which in turn led to the 1912 ballet, “Afternoon of a Faun” by Nijinsky. In case you are unfamiliar with the canon of Mallarme or Nijinks – fear not! Macomber explains the piece on an episode of comedian Ari Shaffir’s podcast, Skeptic Tank. During this insightful and oft hilarious interview, Macomber relates the story of the poem’s pipe-playing faun aroused by passing nymphs and naiads in the forest. After the nymphs spurn his advances, the faun drifts into a lustful sleep.
Macomber’s watercolors transport us to this sensual dream scape with hazy colors juxtaposed against skillful renderings of the dark forest. A masked figure with the torso of a young man and the head of a beast both confronts and seduces the viewer in Macomber’s exploration of wildness and sexuality. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy contributes with the amazingly titled I am a Floozy and Remember the Terror Time.
Check out this excellent collaboration at Family and pick up a copy of Afternoon before they’re gone.
Artwork and book photo via