Mia Truman

Class of 2020

Mia Truman is the winner of the Berman Award for 2020. This award is given by the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art for artistic achievement in the Annual Student Exhibition.

Artist Statement

“Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life sized.”

-Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye (1988)

My paintings are based on photographs taken from my childhood that I have collected from my parents and friends. I am interested in exploring the complexity of childhood relationships, memories associated with childhood, and the perception of these relationships by adults. Children are often underestimated by adults, and childhood is sometimes thought of as a “simpler” time. But children’s relationships can be as complicated and stressful as adults’. In these paintings, photos from my childhood are used as a conduit to explore this complexity and its perception.

For this exhibition, I explore how childhood relationships may be perceived from within the relationship vs from an outside observer. In the larger paintings, I looked for photos where children were interacting with the camera in a menacing or challenging way, positioning the life-size figures at eye level and allowing for an uneasy confrontation between subject and viewer. I was inspired by Atwood’s words and wanted to visually put the viewer into the place of a child who is interacting with their peers. The smaller paintings take an opposite approach. I searched for photographs where the children had their backs turned to the camera. I want the viewer to look at these scenes in the context of the larger paintings and question what they are seeing.

The work also explores memory and nostalgia in the perception of one’s own memories. When we remember a moment, especially from childhood, our memory is shaped and distorted by emotions. Although the work is based on photographs, I added and changed colors, edited or blurred the background, and cut people out of the photographs to convey this distortion.

Follow Mia Truman on Instagram @miaz_art