Elizabeth Shatner's trek into photography highlighted at Art in Bloom

rcopley@herald-leader.comFebruary 20, 2014 

  • IF YOU GO

    'Art in Bloom'

    What: Annual fundraising weekend for The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky

    Where: Museum, inside the Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose St.

    Learn more: (859) 257-5716, www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum

    SCHEDULE

    Art in Bloom floral exhibition. Noon-5 p.m. Feb. 21-23. $8.

    Evening of Elegance black-tie gala for sponsors. With dinner and live auction. 7 p.m. Feb. 21. $500; call (859) 257-6218.

    Meet the artist. With photographer Elizabeth Shatner, 1-3:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Admission included with floral exhibition entrance.

    A Night on the Town cocktail reception. With fashions by Maui Crane, music by Electric String Fusion and a silent auction. 7:30-10:30 p.m. Feb. 22. $75-$100; available at the door or www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum.

    Painting in the Galleries. With artists Kelly Brewer, Mary Seymour Neely, Ann Rutherford Pass and De Selby. 2-4 p.m. Feb. 23. Admission included with floral exhibition entrance.

Elizabeth Shatner is a frequent Lexington visitor, but she doesn't often get into town.

"Mostly, when we get to Lexington, we're dealing with our horses," Shatner says of herself and her husband, actor William Shatner. "We're competing with the horses and over at the Horse Park."

The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky has never made it onto the Shatners' itinerary, but it will this year, when Elizabeth Shatner is the signature artist at the museum's annual fundraiser, Art in Bloom.

One of the hallmarks of the event is a host of floral arrangements inspired by the art on display at the museum. Currently, it's Wide Angle: American Photographs, an exhibit culled from the museum's extensive photography collection.

The focus of the evening, though, will be on Shatner's photography, specifically Crystal Light 5, which will be displayed as both a digital print and a projection.

"For me, that image is not only symbolic but it was just derived organically," Shatner says of the photo, part of a series of light images shot through crystal. "I don't like to set anything up. I just try to capture what's going on in that moment, and something that I'm exploring.

"It was created by a natural flow of curiosity. I was in my kitchen, and there was a beautiful vase we were given by another charity for our philanthropic work. The sunlight was coming through that crystal vase and refracting, like a prism. At the same time, a dead bloom fell off of a bouquet of roses and an orchid. So I started looking at the dead bloom and the shape and beauty of it."

She said that as she worked with the bloom, it stopped being "something most people would throw away and became this beautiful, interesting, otherworldly form; a new thing of beauty. That's when it became symbolic to me of whatever one's light is, or source, whatever represents one's god, and transforming into a new form."

The crystal light that Shatner captured won't end with her print. At Art in Bloom, the image will be projected, and visitors will be able to stand in the light and have their own picture taken, sort of like making a new work of art with Shatner.

"It will be a totally interactive experience, with the ability to walk away with a totally original piece," she says.

Shatner will be at Art in Bloom events Friday and Saturday night and a Saturday afternoon meet-the-artist session. (Sorry, Star Trek fans, her husband will not be there, but he is scheduled to be at the Lexington Comic and Toy Con, March 14 to 16 at Lexington Center.)

Shatner got into photography when she went on a trip with her husband for Canon cameras. She was given a camera of her own and found that she was drawn to horses, her eye trained from years judging equine competitions. She did a lot of floral images early on, although in recent years, she says, she has gotten into more photojournalistic work as well.

Some of that work has come as she followed her husband on tour with his one-man show and album, Ponder the Mystery, which came out last fall.

"I got to shoot during the photo shoot for the album, and they chose one of my pieces for the insert for the album," Shatner says. "So I guess it's from the perspective of Mrs. Shatner's world."

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: Copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

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