Lobsters, light-bulbs and cigarette-smoke at the Beers Gallery

Happy Depression in Beers Gallery, London from 2 March - 14 April 2018 Daniel Jensen / Mark Posey
Happy Depression in Beers Gallery, London from 2 March - 14 April 2018 Daniel Jensen / Mark Posey

A cardboard cutout flashes you a wonky smiles as you enter a room stuffed with bananas, bricks and bristly claw-crane hands. This is just part of the riot of colour and creation, nestled in the industrial, gotham-city-grey of Islington’s Old Street, that forms Happy Depression, the new exhibition at Islington gallery, BEERS. 

Jensen and Posey

The exhibition showing at the EC1 gallery until 14 April combines the work of two international artists Daniel Jensen and Mark Posey, who, in a burst of primary colours and plastic cups, bring both playfulness and the prosaic to the Islington art scene.

Mark Posey, 'Blue Folds' (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 127x127cm and 'Red Structure' (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 112x127cm
Mark Posey – ‘Red Structure’ (2017). Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 112x127cm. ‘Blue Folds’ (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 127x127cm.

Cardboard and neon

The artists have never been exhibited together before, but, Jensen’s “cardboard cut-out” smiley face sculptures, dusted with neon spray against industrial grey, find a perfect partner in Posey’s tongue-in-cheek domestic still-lifes, which slip around surreally like block-coloured Dalis across the canvas.

In situ imagery / March 2018 / by Damian Griffiths
Mark Posey –  ‘Chair with Peach’ (2017), acrylic, oil on panel, 110x91cm (far right)

Partners in playfulness

Lobsters, light-bulbs and cigarette-smoke clouds provide a painted backdrop to Jensen’s found object sculptures, fashioned from the plastic detritus he found lying around his studio in Stockholm. Rebecca Smith, Gallery Manager at BEERS London, said: “The artists definitely have different styles but it’s the playful nature and use of colour that make them so complementary. Neither use a traditional palette and that’s part of the partnering.

Mark Posey, Still Life With Red Folds And Lobster (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 84x100cm and 'Pink Structure' (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 127x127cm
Mark Posey – ‘Pink Structure’ (2017). Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 127x127cm. ‘Two Bricks With Cigarette’ (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 86x76cm.

Fun but with something deeper

“The title, Happy Depression, has come directly from one of Jensen’s sculptures which we thought resonated with the whole exhibition. There’s no greater meaning; it was just something that we thought would work with pieces that are playful and fun to the eye, but there’s something deeper there when you look closely. “Daniel Jensen really does this by playing with form and attempting to trick the eye; people are surprised that the pieces are actually made from aluminium not cardboard.”

Mark Posey, Still Life With Red Folds And Lobster (2017), Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 84x100cm and Daniel Jensen, The Party's Over (2017), Sand Cast Aluminium, Enamel and Spray Paint, 42x25x9cm
Mark Posey – Still Life With Red Folds And Lobster (2017). Acrylic, Oil and Spray on Canvas, 84x100cm and Daniel Jensen – The Party’s Over (2017). Sand Cast Aluminium, Enamel and Spray Paint, 42x25x9cm

Local talent a prized commodity

BEERS London was opened in Old Street in 2010 by its Canadian Director Kurt Beers and has since forged an international reputation for itself, in recent years shifting its focus towards its own Canadian artistic identity. However, Ms Smith bemoaned the fact that home-grown talent is now a prized commodity in the London art scene.“We try to find local talent as well but it’s so competitive to do that. So many galleries have their finger on the pulse. Once you find an artist there’s another gallery looking into them. It becomes quite a battleground to support home-grown talent.”

Daniel Jensen - Sunset (2016), Sand cast Aluminium, Enamel and Spray Paint, 51x23x14cm
Daniel Jensen – Sunset (2016), Sand cast Aluminium, Enamel and Spray Paint, 51x23x14cm

Happy Depression shows in Islington until 14 April 2018.

If wonderful, inspired art is your thing check out our story on the Hornsey Road Art Poject and this breath taking exhibition from last year by Korean artist Do Ho Suh.