Blind visuality in Bruce Horak’s “Through a Tired Eye”

Author: Mary Bunch

This article proposes the concept of blind visuality as a response to the injunction to look differently at both visual images, and vision itself, posed by Bruce Horak’s exhibition Through a Tired Eye. The brightly colored impressionistic paintings suggest an artist who revels in the domain of the visual, yet he describes his practice as a representation of blindness. This accessible exposition of blind visuality speaks to the broad question of what critical disability arts contribute to discourses about vision, visuality and spectatorship in the arts. I analyze Horak’s paintings as examples of blind epistemology and haptic visuality, showing that this work evokes a way of seeing that blurs the boundaries between vision and embodied feeling. I argue that by expanding understandings of vision and multi-sensory knowledge, deconstructing the separation between vision and haptic perception, and challenging western ocularcentricism, blind visuality poses an alternative economy of looking that reflects disability aesthetics, shifts from individualism to relationality, and challenges understandings of perception/knowledge as a form of mastery.