In 2010, Leow began a series of works that were less “in-your-face”, more subdued and quieter in spirit. Blacked-out portraits that seem to retreat from the creation of another identity (like his other series) tothe erasing of it – a stripping away of representation. All that is left are traces of the person through their hands. Sometimes Contrasted against the colourful backgrounds, these portraits hark back to the classical painting tradition of portraits of the elite, but are also inspired by the momento mori (remember you will die ) genre of classical paintings that remind mankind of mortality, and the futility of vanities. In Vincent’s case, he inverts the very nature of portraiture painting to question that very vanity – how do you still show representation without showing it.
“The idea of black is not just about death,but it is also of one’s identity being anonymous, yet catching glimpses of a person. What do we look for or how do we judge something, if it is all blacked out?”
(Interview with Vincent Leow, 2009)
Celebrated as an enfant terrible of the Singapore art community, he is a pivotal figure in the alternative art scene in Singapore.