When American artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1995, he decided to make the best use of his limited time and memory. He began to use his art to understand himself better – for five years, he drew portraits of himself before he completely forgot how to draw.
Through this unique series of self-portraits, viewers can observe the London-based artist’s quiet descent into dementia. As the terrible disease took control of his mind, his world began to tilt and his perspectives flattened. The details in his paintings melted away and they became more abstract. At times, he seemed aware of the technical flaws in his work, but he simply could not figure out how to correct them.
“He’s always been the outsider,” said Patricia. “He was never quite in the same time slot with what was going on. It’s so strange to be known for something you’re doing when you’re rather ill. I say he died in 2000, because he died when he couldn’t draw anymore. He actually died in 2007, but it wasn’t him by then.”