It has been said before and it will be said again, but Philip Akkerman is an artist of, literally, many faces. His decades long series of self-portraits expand and contract, navigate through myriads of styles and often feel like a journey through art history. That the artist has been painting self-portraits exclusively since 1981, it also provides a handbook for his artistic evolution as a painter, where the subject remains the same but the skill and technique evolves through time. And they provide a key insight into his own view of himself. 

Now on view at Derek Eller in NYC is a selection of the Dutch aritst's self-portrraits, showcasing the various styles and ideas he has mastered over the years. As the gallery notes, " Confounded by the enigma of existence, he turned to self-portraiture as a means of comprehending. His inclination was validated by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who professed that existence demands examination, and that 'the more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him'." It's also a chance to see the unique quality of an artist's life work, how one particular subject can keep one compelled on how the self continues to be the most fascinating of subjects in art. —Evan Pricco