Two exhibitions to catch this Easter if you are in or around London. The first is at the GV Art gallery, a retrospective of William Utermohlen: 

Self Portraits of a Declining Brain

William Utermohlen is latest artist to be honored at the GV Art Gallery in London, with an event that has an emotional purpose that is near and dear to the hearts of many. Utermohlen spent the last twelve years of his life battling Alzheimer’s, a degenerative neurological disease that slowly took away his ability to do what he was most passionate about: his art.

Looking at his pieces as his disease progressed, a clear change is visible. As he slowly lost control over his movements, his composition and techniques changed as he was forced to abandon oils for easier-to-use watercolours and pencils. One thing that did not change throughout time, however, was the sheer mastery and vision displayed by has passion for the content of his pieces. 

His paintings display a rarely seen insight into a mind effected by Alzheimer’s, as his struggle and frustration are imminent. Also changed by the progression of time and the disease were his subjects. He began to focus on self portraits and looming dark doorways in the backgrounds

His widow commented that, “it was as if he knew he was going to a very dark place and he knew he couldn’t do anything about it. By the end he couldn’t even recognise his own paintings… that was the saddest thing”.

(via alchymista, from New Scientist)

and the other is Brains:The mind as matter on at the Wellcome Collection (a review of which can be read here

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