Stockton’s newest public artwork “really cool”

“Transcending Vessels,” by Denver artist Mike Clapper, has gone up along Thornton Road at Estate Drive.

"Transcending Vessels." Photo: Michael Fitzgerald

A 100-foot long ribbon of wavy stainless steel water, buoying three ships representing different Stockton eras, the piece is supported by three giant rusty steel tule plants.

“I just try to distill the place down to its essence,” said Clapper, whom I spoke with last year. “I guess I thought that was Stockton.”

The piece, intended to create an “artistic gateway” for drivers entering Stockton from the north, is part of the city’s Thornton Road widening project, which is ongoing.

Bankruptcy delayed the project and increased the artwork’s cost to $184,495.

In the above-linked column, I called the concept “strong.” Having seen it, I’d revise that to “good,” which is perhaps unfair, as the heavy equipment is still on site and landscaping absent. But good is good, especially along scruffy Thornton Road.

Neighborhood reaction was favorable, if a bit unclear on the concept.

“I like it,” said Charmaine Lea. “Does it symbolize something?”

“It looks really cool,” said Anthony Bertolozzi, who added, “I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean, or anything.”



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