In his first solo exhibition in the United States, French artist Stéphane Calais draws inspiration from lace’s translucent allure and the decorative flounces and ruffles known as falbala. With these royal symbols of courtly affluence and fashion as a point of reference, Calais applies a multiplicity of styles, intermixing the high and the low with an irreverent attitude toward classification.

As Lili Reynaud Dewar has written “For Calais, what is alive is precisely that which cannot be described, that which escapes any kind of clarifying transmission, any kind of anticipation. In his work, then, there are no attempts to establish a programme, only grand and overflowing intentions.”

With a Rococo exuberance of color and an overlay of inky filigree, his paintings range from dynamic abstractions to skulls smoking cigarettes that mock the classic vanitas rendering. With titles like The Truth About Death, Batman & Jack Spicer and Marie In The Sky With Diamonds, the artist morphs a classic comic book character with the West Coast poet known as an over-indulgent, alcoholic seer and the holiest of Catholic names with the not-so-subtle drug reference of the Beatles 1967 hit.

The evocative acrylic and ink are accompanied by ink drawings and mixed media wall installations, including We’re Not Depressed dedicated to Markus Raetz and Jonathan Borofsky. Unencumbered by artistic restrictions or expectations, Calais gleefully spells out his platform of unabashed enthusiasm for the world around him.

Stéphane Calais has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout Europe with recent solo shows in Brussels, Madrid, and Paris, as well as a residency and exhibition at the Abbaye de Maubuisson, St-Ouen-l'Aumône, France.