Daniel Jensen & Mark Posey: Happy Depression at BEERS London

Daniel Jensen and Mark Posey’s ‘Happy Depression’ is BEERS London’s second exhibition of the year, and makes for a wonderful show. Both artists use painting and sculpting to portray their tongue-in-cheek commentary on the world. Daniel Jensen’s abstract paintings, sculptures and drawings explore contemporary society, pop culture, film, literature and nature in decline. Mark Posey paints everyday objects that have some form of human quality, focusing on their imperfections and unique characters that shape their personality.

Jensen’s drawings and paintings are an absurd evaluation of the world. He incorporates leaves, smiley faces and squiggly lines into his work and decorates them with a dry, sardonic wit that represents his sculptural identity. Jensen used whatever materials and found “rubbish” he came across to create his artworks, including cardboard, and plastic cups, turning them into totem-like relics.

Posey’s work mimics Jensen’s in that the sense that he uses silly materials like bricks, bananas, candles and cups in his paintings. Posey’s ‘Still Life With Red Folds and Lobster’ shows a huge red tablecloth in the middle of the painting, with objects situated around it, placed rather erratically; there are bananas, plasters, other fruits, candles, a tin can, and a lobster in the middle of the madness. The messy display appears as though the objects have been placed on a table which has then collapsed in on itself, bringing the contents with it.

‘Happy Depression’ by Daniel Jensen, shows a distorted, pastel face on a leaf structure made from sandcast aluminium, enamel and spray. The leaves’ facial features include eyes but rather than being painted on they have been cut out, showing hollow empty spaces for eye-sockets. Although the face appears to be smiling, viewers should note that a heavy, streaming tear is falling from its eyes. ’Happy Depression’ displays a false happiness that one might display to the world, pretending everything is okay while smiling on the outside, yet when viewers delve deeper, they will find what things seem on first impression are only surface-deep.

Jensen’s ‘Two Bricks With Cigarette’ shows a collection of rocks and stones that are balanced on top each other, forming complicated structures. These structures represent the art of rock balancing, which is an art, discipline, or hobby in which rocks are naturally balanced on top of one another in various positions without the use of adhesives, wire, supports or any other contraptions, which would help maintain the construction’s balance. Rock balancing helps people find a silence within themselves, and pushes them on the verge of holistic mysticism. Viewers will find a mysterious and fragile, zen atmosphere exuding from these paintings, that Jensen has mixed with vibrant and bright colours and objects such as cigarettes, which could be ironic placement in contrast with the relaxing rock balancing practice.

‘Red Structure’ by Mark Posey shows a collapse of a rock structure with stones seemingly flying across the canvas, as a foot, covered with cuts and plasters, appears to have kicked it. There are objects resembling knives placed around the painting, and a number of distorted hands that are reaching in from the edges of the canvas, in a grasping claw position. The painting is filled with mania and destruction, in great contrast to ‘Two Bricks With Cigarette’.

Together, Jensen and Posey poke fun at our constant fast-moving tendencies in a manic and light-hearted way, with such incredible attention to detail in their works. Visitors cannot deny the sad beauty in seeing these everyday elements incorporated into these weird and wacky pieces of art, that almost represent the inner workings of a functioning manic depressive - lively and fun, yet deeply unsettled beneath the surface.

Happy Depression is on at BEERS London until 14th April 2018.  More information may be found here.