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Ken “Blacktop” Gentle featured in MVAC Exhibit

April 4 - April 28

Mountain Valley Arts Council will be exhibiting art by Ken “Blacktop” Gentle from April 4th through April 28th. The artists’ reception will be Tuesday April 11th from 5:30 – 7 PM at the MVAC Gallery at 440 Gunter Avenue in Guntersville.

A Guntersville resident, Ken “Blacktop” Gentle is an artist known for his unique style of painting on tar and tar paper. He creates both watercolor and acrylic paintings that tell stories and captures the essence of the American Southern landscape and the people who live there. He has been inspired by the works of Milton Avery, John Marin, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and David Hockney.

Gentle’s artistic journey began in his youth when he spent countless hours exploring the rural countryside of North Alabama with his mentor Albert H Lane who was an illustrator for NASA & The Smithsonian National Space & Aeronautics Museum. The natural beauty he encountered during these trips would later become a recurring theme in his work. He was particularly drawn to the old houses & buildings along the roads and paths he traveled.

After retiring from Hewlett-Packard in 2002 he began experimenting with tar and tar paper as a canvas for his paintings. He found that the rough texture of the tar paper provided a unique surface for his watercolors and acrylics, giving his paintings a sense of depth and movement.

Gentle’s work quickly caught the attention of art critics and collectors alike, and his paintings have been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers across the country, and he has been interviewed by Public Radio & CNN.  His work is in private, corporate, and public collections across the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Japan.

Gentle continues to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with tar paper as a canvas. Recently he has experimented and mastered using his iPhone & iPad as his digital canvas which has opened his work to more contemporary collectors.

He has participated in MVAC’s 2022 Holiday Art Market and the Show for the Birds 2023 with both bird paintings and unique bird painting on quilted mover pads. Ken is represented in these galleries: Art Alley Gallery, Homewood, Alabama; Jeanine Taylor Folk Art, Sanford, Florida; Roots Up Gallery, Savannah, Georgia; Yellow Door Antiques & Art, Rome, Georgia.

The Blooming Quilts exhibit continues through April featuring quilts with flower patterns or flowered materials along with Ken Gentle’s work.

This exhibit is free to the public, but donations to support the arts are gladly accepted. The exhibits are sponsored through grants from Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), City of Guntersville, and generous local businesses and members of MVAC.


Contact:  Becky H. Scheinert beckyhscheinert@gmail.com 256-486-1831


April 4
April 28


Mountain Valley Arts Council Gallery
440 Gunter Avenue
Guntersville, AL 35976 United States
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