Are you tuned in to AM/FM art? Good. Because we’ve got a red letter double edition release to cap off National Photography Month: two new photographs from veteran 20x200 artist and longtime tinkerer Todd McLellan. ICYMI, we stacked our May art schedule with fresh photos to celebrate the versatility of the camera and some of the talents that take the medium to new heights. McLellan has been working in photography for over 20 years, and his Things Come Apart series is unlike anything else out there—we’ve released more than a dozen images from the project over the years, and we never get tired of looking at them. The dismantled objet du jour? A retro radio, characteristically captured in two ways. Collect your favorite, or do as we can never resist doing and hang both side-by-side. Just point that art antenna at Disassembled Radio and Apart Radio right quick.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: McLellan is a master disassembler. It only takes one look at his photographs to pick up on this fact. He has a unique finesse for the inner workings of everyday objects that really sets his art apart. The skill with which he arranges his Disassembled items into balanced, evenly spaced, mesmerizingly meticulous compositions is rivaled only by the dynamic, hectic, gravity-defying beauty of his hovering Apart images. For his subjects, he focuses on older objects that have often been replaced by techier updates—rotary phones, wind-up clocks, push lawn mowers. In the case of these two new editions, an old school radio is the star. After scrupulously stripping the gadget to its many parts, he methodically laid out each bit on a bare white background to photograph Disassembled Radio, revealing the elaborate machinery and captivating complexity of its seemingly simple design. Apart Radio is shot against the same background from roughly the same distance, offering an alternative perspective as overwhelmingly intricate as it is seductively lively, like a particularly striking riff in a piece of jazz music.
Haphazard à la Apart Radio or organized like Disassembled Radio, McLellan’s object studies tap into the history of product design, ever-changing functionality appetites, and the enduring appeal of the classics. They might be hand-built and comparatively rudimentary, but there’s artistry and history in these older objects, elegance in their straightforward purposes, dignity in their carefully assembled myriad parts. Maybe there’s something to meditate on in how quickly our new technologies are replaced these days, when their purely mechanical precursors still pump out tunes to perfection. Whether that message tracks for you or not, these two new photos are sure to get your eye and mind engaged (and they look good in almost any art mix).
With art for everyone,