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McSorley’s Extraordinary Collections of the Ordinary

Plein Air Adventure
Plein Air Adventure

Oil painter Michael McSorley brings together the unexpected, the ordinary, and the unassuming through carefully constructed three-dimensional assemblages in “Collections of Perceptions,” on view at The Art League gallery now through July 1, 2018.

McSorley artfully merges fine art with carpentry through his masterfully painted and expertly crafted assemblages. First, he paints a collection of individual still lifes, favoring curiously humble objects. Then he explores the relationships between his chosen items, grouping them aesthetically and conceptually.

At first, McSorley’s choice of object groupings or the connections between them seem perplexing.

After all,

What do a sweet potato, a lemon, and a kitchen pan have to do with one other??”*

In the Kitchen," Oil, 18 x 19
In the Kitchen

*Lemons, sweet potato, cinnamon, butter, and marshmallows are the ingredients for a sweet potato casserole.

This is initial ambiguity is intentional.

McSorley hopes to challenge the way viewers value and categorize everyday items, places, and familiar faces.

By shining the spotlight on objects that normally disappear into the background, McSorley has instilled his assemblages with sly humor, hoping to make his viewers smile.



McSorley’s main installation,
Plein Air Adventure, combines 49 paintings of various structures, scenes, and iconic sites from across the Mid-Atlantic region. The installation spans nearly the width of the main wall in our solo artist gallery. Like the other works in the exhibit, it is best viewed in person. The composition of the collection of paintings, the depth and dimension of the installation, and the shadows the pieces cast on the wall all create an immersive experience.

Plein Air Adventure detail
Plein Air Adventure detail

About the Artist

Pennsylvania native Michael McSorley received his BA in Fine Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1979. Since then, his work has been showcased in numerous group and solo exhibits, including shows at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and the Gallery on 43rd Street, both in Pennsylvania. His awards and accolades are many, including first place awards at both the Paint Berlin! and Falls Church Plein Air Festivals. His work was recently acquired for the Washingtonia Collection by the DC Commission of Arts and Humanities. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC.

View “Collections of Perceptions” through July 1 in The Art League gallery. Join us for the FREE opening reception, Thursday, June 14 at 6:30 pm.

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