Vertical Hold is inspired by bottle trees, African American sacred objects that protect the home by trapping evil spirits. They are made by placing bottles on the branches of a tree. For this work, Ward collected discarded bottles on the outskirts of Sabbathday Lake, Maine, the last surviving community of Shakers (a Protestant sect known for celibacy and communal living). The bottles are suspended from the ceiling on a web of yarn whose pattern is evocative of a Shaker quilt. “The bottle was a metaphor for the idea of the spirit, something invisible but very present that can become a container,” Ward explained.
Gallery label from 2022