Looking at the Overlooked is a body of 304 works that was created in reaction to a quote by the Royal Academy’s founding president, Joshua Reynolds. In his statement, Reynolds dismissed ‘still life’ as mere (female) craft only capable of producing sensuous pleasure and not conducive to higher (male) forms of artistic expression. Trouton made the work at the beginning of the noughties when Brit Art was in ascendance and figurative art was all-but-invisible.
Trouton deliberately utilised the style, the subject and even scale that Reynolds would have recognised as feminine and readily dismissed. However, she presented her small works on a scale, which made it physically impossible to overlook. At ten metres wide, it was a substantive twenty-first-century rebuke to an ongoing eighteenth-century affront.
In 2006, EL James, author of the publishing phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey, saw the installation in a Cork Street gallery in London. Struck by Trouton's ability to, as she saw it, elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary, the author later included a grouping of thirty-six of the paintings in her trilogy. By choosing to have her protagonists meet in front of the paintings, the pieces were a metaphor for seeing the exceptional in the seemingly everyday objects around us.
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