Pictura Gallery

Single Image Crush | Andrew Rovenko

October 19, 2023

I have a particular fondness for one of the images in the upcoming Life Framer Exhibition at Pictura. Big Stump is part of The Rocketgirl Chronicles, a series that Andrew Rovenko and his child created during the early stages of the pandemic. Rovenko made his daughter a space suit to play in, and together, they wandered the empty streets of their neighborhood so that the little astronaut could have adventures and complete missions.

In Big Stump, the young explorer is perched in a field of overgrown thickets. She is dwarfed by her surroundings, and the large tree stump she sits on makes her seem even smaller. As she looks into the distance, it is hard to tell if her demeanor is one of awe or dejectedness. There is a twinge of loneliness and melancholy congregating in the slump of her back and in the latent stillness of her hands.

Through this image, I am connected to the inner workings of a child’s imagination that is powerful enough to transform an ordinary field of weeds into the surface of a foreign planet. There is a sense of joyful wonder that comes from readjusting my eyes to see in this way.

The photograph also expresses something darker and complex. It communicates a type of disorientation that, I think, many experienced during the pandemic and still feel as we try to readapt our lives. There was this unsettling sensation of the world I once knew suddenly becoming alien and inhospitable. And even now, I see myself in the little girl who doesn’t know what to do with her hands. The girl who struggles to live outside of her own head and sometimes feels like her world is contained by the circumference of her helmet.

- Mia

See more of Andrew’s work HERE // Learn more about Life Framer HERE