Sweet Autonomy

2015, mixed media


between 113 and 121 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC 29730

Cotton Alley serves as a passage from the White Street parking lot, behind Wells Fargo and the Center for the Arts, to East Main Street. 

Alleys as Gallerys transforms York County, South Carolina's well-traveled alleys into art galleries that feature works by local and regional artists.

Sweet Autonomy, 2015


Mike Gentry's series of Advertisement Generated Collages are a reaction to commercial culture and the visuals it presents to us as consumers and viewers. The work is created from common advertisement collateral such as junk mail, event brochures, and pizza box toppers. Gentry employs the advertisements to function as color and texture to create patternistic paintings.


First, Mike tears out parts of the advertisements that he finds to have useful color. Then he uses matte medium to transfer the image to a panel. This process is fairly slow. It can take up to two hours for the transfer to dry before he can lift the backing paper leaving only the ink. By layering the transfers, colors blend and the images lose their specific commercial purpose, yet still retain the general character of the advertisements.


The compositions are built in pattern and grid due to a personal attraction to order. In Gentry's collection of advertisements, there is a large variety of colors and textures set in an order prescribed by the graphic designer. The intent is to re-purpose the advertisements from the quick, hard sell aspect to one which elicits slow, cognitive, aesthetic response from the viewer. For him, the advertisements and coupons become an opportunity to create, rather than an obligation to consume. Scale, too, plays an important role in these pieces. By using small sized advertisements to build large scale compositions the mass of advertisements used becomes relative to the plethora of advertisements we witness daily.



Center for the Arts

Monday – Thursday | 9 AM - 6 PM*

*Open from 5 - 6 PM by appointment 
Friday | 9 AM - 5 PM
2nd & 4th weekends each month:
Saturday | 10 AM - 2 PM
Sunday | 2 - 4 PM


Gettys Art Center

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The Arts Council of York County is headquartered in Old Town Rock Hill. Downtown Rock Hill is a state-recognized Cultural District in South Carolina.


Support for this project is provided by the SC Arts Commission (which receives funding from the NEA), Rock Hill Accommodations Tax Grant Fund, York County Accommodations & Hospitality Tax,  the ACYC Annual Campaign, and Comporium Communications.  For visitors information including lodging, contact the York County Visitors Center at 888-702-1320. 


The Arts Council of York County received a Bridge Grant from South Carolina Humanities, Funding for the Bridge Grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and EconomicSecurity (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.

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