Legal statements

Micah Crandall-Bear, “Red Tie,” mixed media on board, 2005.

Micah Crandall-Bear, “Red Tie,” mixed media on board, 2005.

Lawyers. You love them or hate them. There are hundreds of lawyer jokes, countless movies and TV dramas spotlighting their posturing in and out of the courtroom, and even songs like Jackson Browne’s “Lawyers in Love.” But it’s not often that the words “lawyers” and “art” are used in the same sentence, unless the subject is California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA). CLA, a nonprofit service organization born in the Bay Area in 1974, has expanded to having four offices statewide.

Last Thursday, A Creative Merger: Lawyers & Artists opened at the Sacramento County Public Law Library. It’s a collaborative exhibition by CLA and the library. Although some of the works are by artists focused on a law theme, most of the 68 pieces tucked into the library’s every nook and cranny were born under lawyers’ hands. As lawyer and artist Jeri Wyrick noted, “There’s nothing like studying for the bar that makes you want to do artwork.”

Displayed until May 21, the exhibit offers a perfect forum for a lawyer who was recently in the spotlight. Like a phoenix, Stephen Pearcy’s soldier wearing the “Bush Lied, I Died” sign has returned. Although the original was removed from his Land Park home by vandals, a solider’s uniform now hangs in the library from a plywood bas relief of his house, reiterating his sentiments.

Actually, the show offers a lot of commentary about the present administration, including D.L. Thomas’ simple “Quamdiu se bene gesserit.” It’s a colorful and wildly brushed portrait of the White House with an almost-invisible plexiglass cutout of an oilcan marking an insidious presence across the building’s front.

Others move beyond contemporary politics. Edward Marouk’s bronze “Your Honor I Object” recalls the dignity of Atticus Finch in a Southern courtroom. Mary Dignan’s mosaic “ScarHeart” offers the healing effect of art after she left her law practice to recover from a brain tumor. The Sacramento County Public Law Library is located at 813 Sixth Street in the Hall of Justice building. For more information, call (916) 442-6210.