Wednesday, October 25, 2006

what do you make?


Like Van Gogh's Bedroom of Arles, William Utermohlen's self-portraits, painted over many years as his Alzheimer's progressed, say simply: Here I am. This is what I see.

They're devastating and beautiful. And an important reminder that in every creative act there is an act of generousity -- which isn't necessarily a remedy, but is really all we have.

Here's a link to the New York Times story that just ran -- which is accompanied by a slideshow of Utermohlen's self-portraits »

And here's a link to a BBC piece back in 2001 »

9 comments:

heather lorin said...

wow. just wow.

MGL said...

But then, you included a picture, making the whole post so much lovelier.

suttonhoo said...

and just a little bit illegal, since it's not my pic to post. (woops.)

you were good enough to stay within the boundaries of the law. ;)

Sara said...

I wish my late grandmother could have painted.

MGL said...

I guess it's indicative of the fact that we have the same morning paper. Globalisation is a lovely thing.

I really loved these. Especially the last one, where the face is completely vague and runny, and eyeless, and there's this gigantic crack through the middle of it, like he can feel his self fragmenting. Also because it seems to me the nose looks vaguely like an owl, which is a traditional symbol of death and memory.

suttonhoo said...

(that's a tremendously cool observation about the owl.)

MGL said...

the visual equivalent of found poetry?

suttonhoo said...

:D

Abraham Ritchie said...

Just thought you might be interested in my review of the Utermohlen show since I too linked it to Van Gogh. I thought that his "bed" was a pretty clear reference to Van Gogh's "my bedroom" the colors are very similar. It's always interesting when two people come to related conclusions.

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