Lost At Home

A place that is nowhere specifically, yet everywhere all at once. A medium whose plasticity and malleability is synonymous to that of a mind, yet is an amalgamate of all minds. This is where many of us find ourselves or lose ourselves; either while allowing the cognizance of our fingers to type the day away, or while considering the novelty perpetuated in the sameness of red, blue and green pixels.

The internet is also a place where many of us learn – as did I, of William Utermohlen.

William Utermohlen is best known for his works of art, working primarily as a portraitist for the entirety of his life. At the age of 62, William was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a disease known for its progressive memory theft of those plagued by it. William understood he had this disease, and more importantly, he understood that one day he would walk into the flourishing garden of shades he created as if he were a visitor, a foreigner experiencing it for the first time. To this William responded the best way he knew how – by drawing. William decided that he would invoke on a project of the self… on drawing portraits of himself – as he was losing himself. He did this as an attempt to better understand Alzheimer’s disease through his self-portraits.

William unknowingly began this project in 1967.


 

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-1
1967

 

 

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-2
1996

 

 

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-6
1996

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-3
1997

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-4
1997

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-5
1998

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-7
1999

alzheimers-disease-self-portrait-paintings-william-utermohlen-8
2000

His paintings seek to frame the shadows of dreadful loneliness brought about by Alzheimer’s disease – as it robs you of the light of life.

William Utermohlen was born in 1933, and died at the age of 74, leaving his art and his mind to the world.

-R

 

 

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