Whether he is sculpting for an action movie or painting the family poodle, Roxy, Tom Corbin’s artistic talents cover a broad spectrum. His exhibit, “The Figure: Portrait and Symbol, Paintings and Bronze,” opened at The University of Mississippi Museum March 18. The exhibit includes bronze sculptures and paintings.
The opening reception at the museum will be held tonight from 6-8 p.m. as part of the Oxford Arts Crawl. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Corbin will give an artist lecture March 27 from 7-9 p.m.
“Corbin will be speaking about his career as a self-taught artist and will be in the gallery to answer questions and discuss his work,” said Marti Funke, collections manager of The University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses.
Through friends at the museum and his daughter, junior journalism major Ali Corbin, Corbin chose The University of Mississippi as his second museum to showcase his work. Some universities, such as Florida State University and Pittsburg State University, house his sculptures long-term.
“It is like having a little piece of home here,” Ali Corbin said of having her father’s work shown at the museum. “I’m really proud that my friends are able to see the side of him that I have seen all of my life, to see how talented and fortunate we are to have this great talent for art.”
Knowing his audience and the university, Corbin has worked to collect the right pieces to bring to Oxford. Some paintings include his daughter, while other sculptures are of his female muse, sculpted in different environments.
“We’ve narrowed down the focus,” Corbin said about coming to the museum.
When asked about his favorite piece he is bringing to Ole Miss, Corbin chose a painting.
“It would be Ali and three of her friends from high school her senior year, and we were taking spring break in the Cayman Islands; that’s my favorite one in the show,” he said.
The website www.corbinbronze.com showcases all of Corbin’s work, which includes paintings, sculptures, furniture pieces and lamps. According to the website, the art collections of A-list celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks, the late Frank Sinatra and Jack Nicholson include some of his artwork.
Corbin’s pieces have also been featured in movies such as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Cruel Intentions” and in television shows such as “Law & Order: SVU.”
Corbin compares the feeling of seeing his pieces onscreen to seeing one’s child at a dance recital. When his first piece was on the movie screen, Corbin took all of his team to opening night.
“It’s just really sweet,” he said. “When you see a piece come up, you know your relationship to the piece, you knew your hands were on it and you know all about the piece.”
Corbin began Corbin Bronze in Kansas City, Mo., in 1986 after working for an advertising agency. He took classes from a woman he met through the advertising agency and taught himself the rest. After he got the hang of things, he ventured out on his own and decided to make a living from his artwork.
“Being self-taught, I had a totally different road,” Corbin said, “rather than having a real academic-driven background in education.”
His inspiration comes from “a variety of different areas.” Whether it is the human condition or his female muse, his sculptures express life beautifully.
Corbin’s pieces will remain at The University of Mississippi Museum from March 18 — Aug. 9, 2014. Admission is free. For more information, contact The University of Mississippi Museum. Corbin will be at both the opening night and the artist lecture on March 25 and March 27. The museum is located on University Ave. and 4th St., Oxford, Mississippi.