Vanessa Russ // Deep Ground

Vanessa Russ

Vanessa Russ | Deep Ground 1, 2021, charcoal on paper, 50 x 50cm
Vanessa Russ | Deep Ground 1, 2021, charcoal on paper, 50 x 50cm

A new series of charcoal drawings transport Vanessa Russ back to Country, when the gorges flood.

'Trapped beneath the rocky layers of the rivers are deep subterranean waterways. Small cracks lead to bigger pools of water, hidden away, deep water. This water often remains dormant throughout the Kimberley dry season, until the wet season arises. Once topped up, these waterways spill through cracks creating pressurised water funnels up to the surface of the gorges where they mix with the water that has gathered from the sky. The land feels happy again and we get to swim.

Working with charcoal on paper is a great way to get back to drawing when you take a break. It requires you to prepare, but it also pushes you because you must work the dark dusty compressed charcoal into the white paper without making too many wrong moves. A wrong move just sits on the paper then, and you can’t delete it or hide it. It’s just there. So, every time I return to drawing with charcoal, I have to remind myself of how to use the material. Then I need to think about Country.

I miss Country when there is a big flood. I just keep thinking, I wish I was there right now.'
Vanessa Russ, 2023