“Legacy: Passing the Torch,” curated by Stephanie Mahan Stigliano, presents the work of Boston and New England area artist educators in a variety of media, side by side with that of their students. The show explores the bi-directional influence of the teacher-student relationship, both through the pairings of work as well as through the reflective artist statements accompanying each piece. Presenting the work in this context, said Stigliano, allows us to “ …explore and support the complex, cooperative, and long-ranging influence of both teachers and students — relationships that begin in an academic environment and are transformed and invigorated when mentors and students become colleagues.”
Proximity reveals what might not otherwise be noticeable; pairing allows the viewer to see the subtle influences of the mentor on the work of the student. In Juan Perez’s “JD Martinez on Fire,” a pastel of a Red Sox batter twisting as he follows through on a swing, and in Lyasya Sinkovski’s “Duende,” a graphite drawing of a whirling dancer, we see the same use of line and shading that their mutual mentor Paul Goodnight uses to bring the dancers in his oil painting, “Dance Like Satin to Life.” When seen together, the similarities surface, despite the vastly different media of the three pieces. Goodnight, who teaches an “Anatomy for the Artist” class at the MFA attended by Perez, draws deftly upon his understanding of the human musculoskeletal system in creating his work. Though the transparent yellows and reds of the dancers’ gauzy clothing give the painting an almost ethereal feel, their feet are firmly planted, their arms taut.