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.

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Review of More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art

Author: Eliza Chandler

Georgina Kleege’s latest book, More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art (2018, Oxford University Press), offers a timely and informed account of the significance of blindness to arts and culture. Throughout this book, she moves between analyses of how blindness is represented in philosophy, phenomenological accounts of the cultural practices and technologies that make arts and culture accessible to blind people, and self-representations by blind artists. Using a disability studies and cultural studies framework, Kleege skillfully blends a sophisticated knowledge of European art history, a robust understanding of the disabled people’s movement and its politics, and her own experiences as a blind person, a daughter of artists, and a frequent patron of art galleries. The uniqueness of this book lies in how Kleege animates, chapter by chapter, cultural appearances of and encounters with blindness, unfurling a multifaceted account of blindness as offering sensorial and generative experiences of the world.

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