Otago Polytechnic


Art in Law XVIII Exhibition

Lawyers Love and Live in Abstraction

Curated by Marion Wassenaar
Artworks by alumni, staff and associates of Dunedin School of Art.

From the very beginning of their studies to their lives in practice and beyond, lawyers are taught to embrace the hypothetical. When they look at a statute or case, they are considering the impact of the law in a hypothetical fact scenario. And while a particular set of facts will ultimately crystallise that impact, no less important is the idea of the rule or maxim in the abstract. Legal reasoning forces us to divorce the text from context and parse for meaning in manner sometimes quite untethered from reality. Academic lawyers go one step further, sometimes questioning the process of legal reasoning itself and whether true abstraction is even possible. Like an artist, legal academics can spend their life in abstraction; an abyss of “what ifs”. Like the artist, they find contentment in that abstraction, and deeper meaning in the process. Art, like law, embraces the abstract, and lawyers, like artists, consume and are consumed by that abstraction.
Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere


(Image credit: Michael Greaves, Salt and fat, 2020, oil and aerosol on linen)

Bought to you by the University of Otago Law Faculty and Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic

Published on 24 Feb 2021

Orderdate: 24 Feb 2021
Expiry: 1 Dec 2021