This year marks the first-ever CloverMill artist residency. Maltese artist Gabriel Buttigieg and Russian artist Julia Kiryanova were both selected by independent Irish artist Jennifer Smith to spend two weeks at CloverMill to work on their art in a tranquil, remote setting. CloverMill is an old water windmill, situated some two kilometres from the village of Giessenburg which is about 15kms east of Dordrecht. This monumental building, which dates back to 1865 and was originally built for the management of water levels on the lower plains, is the only building at the end of a narrow dyke.
Having grown to love and appreciate the calmness of her surroundings, Smith was keen to invite other artists to experience the beauty of the secluded spot that she and her family call home. “I started the artist residency because of the space we have. We are lucky enough to have a studio and an adjacent gallery space at CloverMill,” Smith comments. “I’m an artist myself, and I’m just really interested in working with other artists and seeing the artistic process behind other artists’ work.”
“It was really important to me to provide this for free, and to also provide the artists with on-site accommodation at no cost,” Smith says. “A lot of the time, it is really expensive for artists to participate in shows and residencies — especially artists who are just starting out.”
The two artists in residence are used to busy town and city environments, which meant that their stay at CloverMill offered them a welcome respite from their usual chaotic urban environments. “This place is good for your mind,” Kiryanova remarks. Buttigieg nods in agreement. “There are so many things that inspire you here: different leaves, different animals, different insects. It’s amazing.”
If you want to find out what this inspiration has led to, then come along to the open studio event on 18th September at CloverMill studio space or to the exhibition at the on-site gallery at CloverMill on 19th September Both artists are excited to share their work with you.
Kiryanova has been working on a six-metre long piece in acrylic paint and acrylic markers, entitled On an Adventure, which is inspired by spirituality, mythology and the blurring of lines between reality and fantasy. Meanwhile Buttigieg has been working on four mythology-inspired paintings, The Enlightenment of Cupid (and Satyr) at CloverMill, Allegory of Love and Wisdom (and The Triumph of Flora) at CloverMill, Of Venus, Cupid, and the Search for Beauty (after Bronzino) and one mystery piece that has yet to be revealed. Buttigieg’s work focuses primarily on nudes, universal narratives, sexuality, the human condition and the various potential interpretations of the “feminine”.
Please note that both events will be strictly by appointment only, so make sure you get in contact with Jennifer Smith via the CloverMill website before attending. Melita Cameron-Wood 15th September 2021
Photo © CloverMill 2021