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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | SIGHTS

Women's Art Ranges From Subtle to Bold

February 29, 1996|Josef Woodard

A gathering of women artists from Ojai is going by the punning title of "The Creative Bloc" for a show at the Ojai Center for the Arts, which ends today. Judging from the diversity of works, their only tie seems to be a creative intensity.

Jane McKinney, whose work has spanned many different approaches, shows lyrical and dreamy little pastel landscapes, soft and curvy, basking in diffused light. Powerful for their subtlety, the works focus on seemingly trivial scenes--shrubs, a gentle slope or a piece of trail--transformed into something mysterious.

Another avowed Ojai eclectic, Gayel Childress, shows more striking work from the branch of her art that reflects the boldness of French neo-fauvism. These landscapes are enchanted, red-drenched scenes managing to be both giddy and muscular.

The collage muse has visited Louise Owen, who likes to create composite images, whether in literal cut 'n' paste fashion or in her own sense of a painting's structure. For her portraits of women and landscape, Carole Milton relies on a thick palette, chunky paint whorls and tense color schemes, even when the subject is as benign as tea time.

Barbara Hoff goes in the opposite direction, presenting purposefully sketchy, unfinished portraits of women, against scratchy gray backgrounds. Her paintings are permanent works-in-progress, and probe the nature of the artistic process.

In the front display case at the Arts Center, Hanna Lee Hombordy presents whimsical sculptures, flecked with a comic book absurdism. "Phun House" is a goofy collection of shapes and household items. We're put in mind of Toontown, on a tiny scale, and with the Disney references plucked out.

* "The Creative Bloc," through today at the Ojai Center for the Arts, 113 S. Montgomery St. in Ojai; 646-0117.

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