By Katie Weiler



The solo photo exhibition Beyond Perception premiered Thursday, March 14 featuring the exquisite artwork and multidimensional photography of FUA student Donald Blair. In the Corridoio Fiorentino, Blair showcased his personal work and displayed how perception changes by doing so in an interactive way.


The exhibit was held as a result of a class, “Solo Exhibit and Publication of Solo work,” a session II class Blair conducted with FUA photography instructor Marco Gualtieri. “Since I was a very young child I used to love to look through glass. I loved looking at lights, and things of that nature, the way they would bend and warp,” Blair said about his inspiration for the exhibition. 


Blair’s exhibit focused on the bending of light and how when manipulated it provides an alternative reality to the viewer. At the opening of the event, Blair gave attendees various looking glasses that would alter the way they saw artwork in the room. People looked through the different glasses and were pleasantly surprised when they got a glimpse at the various realities through which the exotic art was meant to be seen. 


The bending of the light shared abstract textures in a series of the exhibition. The first of the photos were Stereo Pictures, featuring two copies of the same object, but eye width apart. When looking at the pictures with the naked eye the images of masked faces and colorful fungi were spread over the viewing board. 


“I believe we all hold this mask so we can view reality and to protect ourselves,” Blair said. People watched the art transform before their eyes as the colors and images were bended creating a three-dimensional image when looking through the stereoscope viewing instrument. After seeing the original art with their naked eye, it was only seconds later the images changed into a whole new piece.


The next session shared a myriad of color in pieces that were titled Light on Glass. The pieces hung in the gallery allowed people to see how light reflects differently on the objects Blair photographed. The pieces were smeared with a collection of colors that Blair discovered when playing with the light on the glass. “I want to open people’s minds up to new ideas, new possibilities, new ways of seeing reality, and that is what my art is about,” Blair said. He explains that the way the light bounces off of the surface can portray an alternate reality that exists within our world. 


The last section of Blair’s exhibit shares Hand Messages. These images capture encouraging sayings composed of light which are contrasted on the dark portraits of hands. To collect the messages, people wrote positive notes and then Blair transformed them into a display of pieces in his photography repertoire. This part of the exhibit was an extension of his honors thesis, which he calls the atomic love bomb. “An atomic bomb radiates negative energy, the love bomb radiates positive energy,” he said. By compiling positive messages for people of the future, Blair hopes to turn these notes into a book and donate the money to a non-profit for promotion of love and peace through the arts. 


Blair has traveled the world and is inspired by the differing perspectives he has gained from his experiences. “The human perception is not very strong, we think we understand things, we think we see things, we think we can relate to this world, but our brains are very, very tiny in this infinite universe,” Blair said, “It’s up to us to look beyond our perceptions, beyond reality, to try to get a firmer grasp on the wholeness of everything.” 


Being able to see the artwork displayed in Corso Tintori’s entrance gives visitors a chance to experience a new reality throughout the exhibition’s run. The collection of Blair’s multidimensional photography will run from March 14 through April 11 of 2019 and is open to all FUA faculty, students, staff and visitors of FUA to engage with and experience the art beyond their own perceptions.