Vol. 140 October 14, 2013 - Print the October 14, 2013 Issue

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October 14, 2013, Features

Jeff Kies’ The View From Here at Prohibition Gallery

By Craig Stephens   Tue, Oct 15, 2013

Opened in 2011, Prohibition Gallery in Culver City has developed a reputation as a haven for emerging artists catering for a range of tastes and styles, the space hosting everything from experimental painting to graffiti and illustrative based work.

The next milestone for the thriving space is their current exhibition, a solo show featuring Los Angeles-based artist Jeff Kies titled "The View From Here."  Citing the likes of Paul Klee as an influence Kies’ early Neo-Symbolist work is a form of “petroglyphic graffiti.”

Kies career has seen him experiment with materials such as sandpaper, foil, glass, and found elements. This particular exhibition encompasses a new series of work that is purely abstract. He’s been working on a large scale, using a pre-Roman era style called “verre eglomise” or reverse glass painting. The effect is dense with color, and detail with an elusive magic that transports the viewer.

Jeff Kies is the quintessential Los Angeles artist.  An abstract painter born in Ohio, he studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design, came to L.A. in his early twenties and has been making art since. His work can be found in numerous private collections throughout the United States.

Prohibition’s portfolio of developing careerists include LA artist Michael Gittes, son of film producer, Harry Gittes, who exhibited his first sold out solo show at Prohibition in 2011. He has since shown at The Armory Show New York City in May 2013, and the upcoming Art Basel Miami in December.

Eliot Saarinen, first exhibited with Prohibition in 2012. Saarinen has gone on to exhibit highly successful shows at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station (2012), and Knoll Factory in Austin, Texas (2014). Wyatt Mills is another early careerist who shows at the space. He will also be showing a new body of work at the Brewery Artwalk, Los Angeles (October 2013), and Miami Project, Art Basel (December 2013).

Artist Duke Choi also enjoyed a highly successful show at the space with his Post Modern Shamanistic City Maps. In addition to performing some infectious Mongolian throat singing, his collection of ink on paper pieces hope to serve as a blue print of the mind and the network of the collective consciousness.

The works use of picture writing and cartography depicts the nature of systematic cities. The artist implements traditional techniques to create his own ink, paint, and paper, along with the use of a one hundred-year-old pen and one brush. Rich intricacies and a high level of detail will compel the viewer to read each work as a book.

Glenn Williams founded Prohibition Gallery, in 2011. Before opening his own gallery, Williams made a name for himself as a highly successful fashion designer. His work has been profiled in Vogue, GQ, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. An ardent collector Williams started buying art in his early twenties.  His collection includes Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Nevelson, Ovadia Alkara, the photography of Joyce Tenneson, Jonathan Borofsky and Salvador Dali.

As a champion of artists, Williams says wanted to do something more meaningful than just collect, hence he opened Prohibition. In the face of economic adversity and a brutally dismissive and cynical hierarchy embracing art of various standards in Los Angeles, his stoic commitment to aiding in the development of early career artists is admirable.


By Craig Stephens


Australian born Craig Stephens has resided in  the US since Jan 2000. His work has appeared in a spectrum of global titles, including Artweek, The, Dart, Fabrik, LA Weekly, LA Times, Daily Beast, GQ, Esquire and others . More about him at www.craig-stephens.com.

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