The twenty-third tabletop happening of 5×7 UNDERGROUND occurred on Friday, February 26th, 2021 from 5-7 p.m. “Unity” was the theme and chosen by member, Lauren Latané-Valis. Lauren selected this theme because she felt a strong pull towards the concept after recent events exposed a need for unity and healing. As the counterpart to our previous theme “Divide”, she wanted to provide an opportunity to create work that could explore connection and hope.

It was another very cold and eventually rainy night, but 5×7 UNDERGROUND met once again live and in person outside at Studio 1330 in Westminster, Maryland. Jim Roberts had the fire pit rolling along!

Artists in attendance included: Jeff Sharp, Mary Beth Francis, Jim Roberts, Lauren Latané-Valis and Thomas Sterner.

Each artist presented their interpretation of Unity beginning with Lauren Latané-Valis. After each 5×7 UNDERGROUND artist presented their work in rotation, the work was displayed for a gallery photograph. We hope you enjoy the art and will visit us again!

The image below depicts 5×7 UNDERGROUND interpretations of the theme, “Unity” as displayed at Studio 1330, Westminster, MD.

5×7 UNDERGROUND Tabletop Gallery #23
5×7 Underground April 26th Fireside Meetup
From left Lauren Latané-Valis, Mary Beth Francis, Thomas Sterner, Jim Roberts, Jeff Sharp
"Divided" mixed media artwork
Lauren Latané-Valis, “Solidarity”, 2021, acrylic paint, paper, silver leaf, 5in x 7in

Raised fists and flowers are encircled by repeated rings that symbolize the need for individuals to come together to create a unified space. Silver leaf accents the earth and blue is used as a motif to express unity and solidarity.

"All for One" acrylic painting
Mary Beth Francis, “All for One”, 2021, acrylic on canvas board, 5in x 7in.

This is designed to be a companion piece to “Worlds Apart” from the Division theme, emphasizing again, that while we are different, and quite divided, we live indivisibly here on earth. What happens to one part of our planet affects the whole planet and the humans who rely on it. Our world’s health depends on our ability to unite in taking responsibility to treat every part of the earth as equally important and to be good stewards—allowing for use, not abuse. The images of the glaciated mountains in Montana and the rain forest in Costa Rica represent two, of many, ecosystems that are changing. Continued change means loss locally and greater change for the whole world. Since popular terminology and predictions about the future are so controversial, perhaps we unite by speaking of human actions and potential. Can we agree that people pollute, cut down rainforests (and other forests), develop land, design monocultures, overuse soil, and overfish seas? Can we agree that these actions have broad, negative consequences in nature and for the people who live or rely on the most affected areas? Can we agree that humans are innovative enough to find solutions that can benefit the earth and humans, providing food and jobs and safe places to live? If we can agree on these things, we can move forward. Together we stand or together we fall.
(Like “Worlds Apart” this work can be displayed with either image on top; though it requires change and compromise, perhaps there is no real “downside” to true unity.)

"Strength in Unity" carved wooden relief artwork
Thomas Sterner, “Strength in Unity”, 2021, carved oak with cherry frame, 7in x 7in x 1in.

Four hands clasping wrists is a strong unity symbol, carved from solid oak and stained to show diversity.

"will we ever be whole again?" mixed media artwork
Jim Roberts, “will we ever be whole again?”, 2021, mixed media, 5in x 5in x 4.5in.

Considering all that has happened politically over the past 4+ years, especially the recent turmoil involving the invasion of the Capitol Building, one has to wonder if we will ever be unified as a nation.

"Unity over Division" letterpress print
Jeff Sharp, “Unity over Division”, 2021, Letterpress, 6in x 4in.

A message of optimism, hope and moving forward for 2021. Unity ALWAYS wins over division.