Spectra-GateMatt Corbin (1945)
158 Clairmount Street, Detroit, MI, 48202, United States
Spectra-Gate is viewable from the street.
About the Artist/Site
“Painting with paint that’s already dry” – artist Matt Corbin utilizes found objects from around his neighborhood to create an installation called Spectra-Gate in an empty lot adjacent to his Detroit home and studio. The piece consists of 13 discrete, monochromatic assemblage sculptures, each a different color, standing on skinny metal legs in a loosely arranged line across a strategically mowed lawn.
Corbin is a proud Detroit native and has spent most of his life working in the arts. He graduated from the College for Creative Studies, a private art school, and then began work designing window displays at Hudson’s, a department store chain formerly based in Detroit. He went on to a position at the Detroit Children’s Museum (now defunct) and then to teaching art with Detroit Public Schools. Corbin notes that it’s often children who pick up on the significance of Spectra-Gate – a deconstructed and elongated color wheel.
Corbin's personal practice is firmly rooted in Detroit – physically and materially. He and other neighbors gather all sorts of discarded objects from the area that eventually make their way into Corbin’s artwork – like the big box television set that became the body of the black helicopter driven by a Halloween witch decoration – now a pilot. A frequenter of the Detroit Institute of the Arts, he found particular inspiration in Louise Nevelson’s 1966 assemblage “Homage to the World.” Corbin is also interested in the work of large scale installation artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and according to an article about the artist by Essay’d, Spectra-Gate is named in part after their Central Park piece “The Gates.” Indeed, the rectangle-on-stilts shape of the Spectra-Gate sculptures are very similar to the standing orange curtains that made up “The Gates” installation, and while Corbin’s pieces are mostly fixed, the found objects used to create them speak to the movements and rhythms of daily life in Detroit. In addition to Spectra-Gate, Corbin has installed another towering piece – this time made entirely of steel – called “Geome Tree” in another empty lot across the street. This work was made in collaboration with fellow Detroit artist Richard Bennett.
Corbin’s work is viewable from the street/sidewalk, and visitors are welcome to browse the installations.
- Interview with Matt Corbin conducted by the author Annalise Flynn on July 10, 2021
- “30 Matt Corbin,” by Steve Panton for Essay’d
Map & Site Information
158 Clairmount Street
Detroit, MI, 48202 us
Latitude/Longitude: 42.3819929 / -83.0846628