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Arts & Culture Alliance to present "War of the Lawn Ornaments" by Alan Finch and Denise Stewart-Sanabria

"Leda and the Swan" (Lomography cross processed photography, pigment print on rag paper) by Denise Stewart-Sanabria.

KNOXVILLE –- The Arts & Culture Alliance will present a new exhibition entitled "War of the Lawn Ornaments," an investigative, interactive exhibit by local artists Alan Finch and Denise Stewart-Sanabria. The exhibition will be displayed in the Balcony at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from March 2-30, 2012 with an opening reception as part of First Friday activities on March 2 from 5:00-9:00 PM.

Five thousand years ago, in Mesopotamia, marble sculptures of giant bunnies and the god Enlil stood before a rural stone house. Not really. Or did they? Yard art has surely been around for a long time in the gardens of countless cultures in both divine and tasteless form. In our own country it has ranged from the spiritual to the tacky to the offensive. Who made these concrete icons originally? What was their motivation? Why do people persist in buying certain statues that seem to celebrate shameful moments in our country's history? Are frogs really that cute? Why do only Catholics put Madonnas in their yards, but Protestants like St. Francis in their gardens? Do little boys really urinate into giant shells?

Last year, Clinton artist Alan Finch stumbled upon a remote find of almost Pompeian magnitude. Though never covered in volcanic ash, and in fact still in business, it had the air of a lost time and culture. It needed the kind of anthropological investigation only artists can manage. He contacted Knoxville artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria and proposed a collaborative project: the "War of the Lawn Ornaments". Using mainly alternative photo processes, such as lomography, pinhole, and I-pad images, they documented the undisclosed site, adding dioramas and found object installations to fully capture the depth of the experience. Warning: This is an investigative exhibit containing images that made the artists cringe and occasionally declare "WTF"?

This exhibit is being exuberantly funded by The Society for the Preservation of Lawn Art, which is located in another undisclosed location in the Greater Appalachia region.

"Let's pick up a couple of chicks" (digital photograph printed on metal paper) by Alan Finch

Native Oak Ridger, Alan Finch, has been active in the East Tennessee arts community for over 25 years. His paintings, sculpture, and photography have been included in numerous local, regional, and national exhibitions. Finch founded two art groups, Group W and Kaleidoscope, and he has curated exhibitions across the state. He will be guest curator for a Kaleidoscope show at the Oak Ridge Art Center next March. Alan and his wife Darlene live in Clinton. For more information on Alan Finch, visit

Denise Stewart-Sanabria was born in Massachusetts and received her BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She has lived in Knoxville since 1986. Sanabria paints both hyper-realist "portraits" of everything from produce to subversive jelly donuts, and full-scale, cut-out charcoal on plywood portraits of contemporary people that she uses to create conceptual installations. Recent exhibits include: "Continuare: The Figurative Tradition in Contemporary Art" at Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the 55th Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum of Art, Evansville, IN; "Quantum Confusion" at Appalachian Center for Craft at Tennessee Tech, Smithville, TN; "The American Still Life: Yesterday and Today," The Bascom, Highlands, NC; "In the Flesh," Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA; and the "26th Tallahassee International", at the Florida State Museum of Fine Arts. Stewart-Sanabria also writes exhibit reviews for Number, an independent arts journal from Memphis, Art Papers, and Art Now Nashville. For more information on Denise Stewart-Sanabria, visit

"War of the Lawn Ornaments" will be displayed in the Balcony at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM with additional hours on Saturday, March 3, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit the Web site at

Published February 17, 2012

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