My first art teacher was John Stanley. He was bigger than life. He was one of the original founders of the St. Petersburg Arts Center (now Morean Arts Center). He was the first to paint huge abstracts using acrylics in the ’60s. There is a room dedicated to him at the Morean… the John Kirk Stanley Gallery.
He filled up the room when he entered. The stories of his extensive travels were enthralling. And the way he spoke of his partner of 29 years was so tender it could bring you to tears. His knowledge of art history and techniques was legendary. And he was an artist with food. We would wait all year for his Christmas party. In his later years, he taught a few of us at his studio, in his home, which is among some of my very important memories. So, all of that is to say I adored and idolized him.
He was a generous man and one day he gifted me with a set of small china plates. They are called Adamo Ed Eva (Adam and Eve) and were made in Italy in 1965 by Piero Fornasetti. They tell the story of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden because of the snake (the Devil). They are numbered and when set out in order, make a beautiful visual story.
I’m sentimental and was thinking about John because December was his birthday month. So, my way of feeling close to him was to make a series of collages using the Adamo Ed Eva plates.
The first one is Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden, with her outstretched arm and hand reaching for leaves and flowers. This is before the fall when she is innocent and pure. I used canvas, photographs, fabric and paper for the flowers and fruit.
Eve. Mixed Media Collage by Dee Perconti. 2020.
The second collage is Adam being tempted by Eve to eat the apple, which will be his downfall as Satan (the snake) coils. I collaged it with canvas, paper, chain, metal balls and metal hardware. The third in the Adam and Eve series, is the battle between God (the cross at the lower right and peaceful tree at upper right) and Satan, depicted by the winding silver snake chain. Things are falling apart now in the Garden of Eden. Canvas, paper, enamel beads and ceramic beads were used.
Adam. Mixed Media Collage by Dee Perconti. 2020.
The Battle. Mixed Media Collage by Dee Perconti. 2020.
The final collage in the series is not complete. This one is just meant to show the beauty of these Fornasetti Italian plates and the elegance of the human form.
Working on Adamo Ed Eva was a gift, because the whole time I was flooded with thoughts and memories of John Stanley, who remains a strong and loving influence in my life.