Artist documents struggle with Alzheimer's in self-portraits
PHILADELPHIA – In a series of self-portraits he painted to document the progressive ravaging of his brain by Alzheimer’s disease, William Utermohlen disappears before our eyes – and his own.
The works shortly after his diagnosis convey terror and isolation. Those feelings later give way to defiance and anger. Then shame, confusion and anguish. Then, in the shadowy final pair of portraits, little more than afterimages of a creative and talented spirit whose identity appears to have vanished.