The Ventura County Museum of History and Art gained a notable curator in Tim Schiffer, who promises to further polish up the institution. The current show of Cornelius Botke etchings is a fine example of regional art.
Still, the most consistent venue for art worth looking at has been the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, which seems to be getting better and better. Among the shows there were "Mystical in Art: Chicano-Latino Painting," "Dialogues: Drawings by Beatrice Wood" and the current show of paintings by William Roper.
The Conejo Valley Art Museum featured such memorable stuff as the rustic painting of Reyna Castano's "Light and Color from Mexico." Down the road, at the Thousand Oaks Community Gallery, a highlight was "Three Women: Silvia J.K. Simpson, Carla Larson and Phyllis Doyon"--especially for Simpson's sensitive work.
The Ojai Center for the Arts put on fine solid shows, including Alex Matzkin's "People of Ojai: Portrait of a Small Town, Circa 1994," which, from this evidence, is a relentlessly upbeat burg. Also in that idyllic valley, we had the annual autumnal procession of the Ojai Studio Tour.
Gayle Childress' small, spunky gallery in Ojai gave the county several shots in the arm, with an erotic show that begat more of same, and a vivid neon art show in the fall.
All told, the year in art 1994 added up to a good crop for Ventura County. Suspicions are confirmed: Art is not moot here.
* WHAT: "Dale Chihuly: Installations 1964-1994."
* WHEN: Through Feb. 19.
* WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St.
* CALL: 963-4364.