The Cotswolds and More
The photography of Susan Lockwood
May 4 until June 29
May 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The Montgomery Museum of Art and History (MMAH) will host an exhibit called “The Cotswolds and More” by Radford photographer Susan Lockwood. The Cotswolds, a region in central-southwest England with its quaint villages and textured architecture, appealed to her artistic taste. She sees these old buildings as portals to the past and to the present. The gracious people of Cotswold were another plus. When Lockwood and her husband went through a kissing gate, stopped at a two-story carriage house, and asked a person where they might get a drink of water, the person, who turned out to be the owner, invited them to tea and crumpets on her lawn.
Lockwood excels at composition. The photograph “Cotswold Petunias” shows a building of beautiful golden Cotswold stone, a type of Jurassic limestone full of fossilized sea urchins. The gold frame from Miller Off Main brings out the golden honey color in the stone. Red petunias are in front of the building, and an old man is strolling by. Some people would have cropped out the downspout, but then you would not see the bit of another building to the left. That building adds a sense of perspective to the photograph and shows its relationship to other structures in the area. Flowers appear in many of Susan Lockwood’s pictures. Perhaps her love of gardening influences the composition.
“The Bank” bears little resemblance to our museum’s old Wells Fargo building, but it appealed to a local banker, who bought one of the limited edition photographs.
“Cotswold Cottage,” with its sagging roofline, leaded glass windows, and stone façade is another example of the architecture in the region. This cottage is in a place called Chipping Campden, a small market town regarded as one of the most beautiful places in England. Nearby is Hidcote Manor, a garden designed by the American architect Lawrence Johnston. Outdoor rooms were created using boxwood hedges for “walls.” Johnston filled the edges with exotic species of plants collected on his world travels. A photograph “Afternoon Stroll” shows a man and woman walking through this garden. “Garden Gothic” is a picture of an elderly man and woman sitting on a garden bench. The man, then in his 90’s, had worked in this garden for forty years.
Not all of the photographs feature the Cotswolds. The “More” part of the exhibit has works from London and other parts of England and from Ireland, Scotland, and France. The “Red Door,” for example, features a building in Provence. The composition plays up the door and includes just enough of the rest of the building. The stone probably came from France, certainly not the Cotswolds.
“Bag O’ Nails” is a pub in London. The rounded corner of the building and sign above the door beckon you in. Jimi Hendrix played here, and this is where Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman, his future wife.
Susan Lockwood began her photography career by taking a course at New River Community College. Winning awards from the Highlands Festival in Abingdon and receiving a major grant from the Blue Ridge Arts Council persuaded her to pursue a career in photography. Many more awards and juried exhibitions across the country followed. Her work appears in permanent collections in the area and has been featured in 18 solo exhibitions. She occasionally teaches workshops in composition and courses in choice of subject matter. You won’t find a lot of famous landmarks in her work, but the exhibition includes some local favorites such as the former Floyd Hardware Store and the old historic Mabry Mill.
On the Cotswold visit, Susan once sat down on a knoll to change her film. A man and his housekeeper motioned her and her husband to come down to their nearby two-story house. They insisted on serving tea and driving them back to the bus stop. Are these people from the Cotswolds more friendly than we are? No, these were expatriates from Ruckersville, Virginia.
An opening reception at the MMAH on Thursday, May 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. will honor not only Susan Lockwood’s photography but also a history exhibit entitled “Owning the Stereotype: The History of Hillbilly Iconography Exhibition” along with a whiskey tasting. Maybe there will be the classic Cotswold breakfast of porridge with whisky, or maybe not, given the time of day. Either way, the public is invited to attend this free event.
– Judy Niehaus