Ringed by trees, rising from a grassy mound, and pointing slightly upward is the skeletal frame of a vessel. For hundreds of years, boats have used the Mississippi River as a major waterway in this country. Tim Curtis’s Mystic Vessel Ascending pays homage to the boats that have lived and died on this great river. His sculpture suggests both the spirit of past and future and also asks that we reflect on our own journeys as well as those that have come before.
The work is constructed of steel, earth, and trees, and Curtis comments, “I utilize elemental materials that reveal the primal forces of growth and change, creation and destruction, and life and death. These sculptures can be viewed as vessels or carriers of metaphysical meaning, which foster contemplation and a reconsideration of the worldly values to which we now subscribe.” For Curtis, vessels serve as metaphors for a variety of imagery—that which carries the soul or spirit and the mourning process itself. The idea of ascension is also a part of the layered meaning associated with vessels. St. Louis regional history—the Mississippi River, the vessels that have traveled it, and the spirit of the peoples who have inhabited the land for centuries—is also referenced in this piece.
Dimensions: 25′ x 30′ x 15′
Year Completed: 1997
Material: Steel and earth
Owner: Laclede’s Landing