Halim Al-Karim, Kris Cox and Christopher Morris

The spring season gets off to a vibrant start at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Several of the paintings incorporate faint pencil drawings based on strict geometries of horizontal and vertical lines and concentric circles. These lines were precisely applied with the aid of drafting tools; according to the artist's statement, they refer to the passage of time and represent the intersection of the personal and the universal. This connects his oeuvre to the ultra-minimalist work of the late Agnes Martin, whose style I immediately thought of when taking in the Cox exhibit.

The last of the shows on display at BMoCA, Christopher Morris/My America, in the cramped and awkward second-floor gallery, does not continue on the same post-minimal track. I think that's too bad, but this color-photo show is still pretty great.

Morris is a photojournalist who began to take the fine-art pictures in his "My America" series while covering the 2000 presidential campaign for Time. The topic of "My America," according to Morris, is the conjunction of "patriotism, politics and devotion." Unlike his photojournalistic work, in which every effort is made to come up with a straightforward shot of his chosen subject, these images are often cropped in unexpected ways, as in "Cadet's Lips, Philadelphia," which shows only the bottom two-thirds of the face of a young military-school cadet, cutting out his eyes, or "Harrisburg," a portrait of a man showing only his jacket, shirt and tie.

Mixed-media installations by Halim Al-Karim.
Mixed-media installations by Halim Al-Karim.
"Cadet's Lips, Philadelphia," by Christopher Morris, digital C-print.
"Cadet's Lips, Philadelphia," by Christopher Morris, digital C-print.


Through May 19, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder, 303-443-2122.

To see a slide show of these exhibits, click here

I loved this show and thought it was completely engaging, even if it required a major shift in sensibilities from the cerebral attractions downstairs. In the last couple of years, BMoCA has made a big comeback after a period of retraction. Credit for this definitely goes to director Joan Markowitz, who's breathed new life into the place, and to curator Kirsten Gerdes, who picked and put together these three intriguing shows.

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