Joshua Michael Schrei
Opening reception June 1st. 2018
A vibrant photographic journey featuring closeup images of the colorful and tactile residue of devotional offerings left behind at Indian temples.
One of the experiences that defines the Indian temple space is the inundation of vibrant offerings on every available inch of space and the degree, therefore, to which the space becomes interactive. Deity images are lathered in butter, smeared in vermillion powder, bathed in milk, draped in flowers, honored with oil and ash. The residue of this colorful efflux takes on a life of its own — pools of milk gather in stone, statues become so covered with effluent that you cannot even see the original
statue anymore. In this way, devotion becomes visible — there is a residue to our offerings — perhaps even to our thoughts, our feelings, our words, our lives themselves. The effect of this residue in photographs is vibrant, tactile, painterly, and conveys a geography that we don't see much in the west. Our interior space tends to be fairly boxy and sparse. In these photos, space is dripping, bright, red, powdery... alive.
Residue is meant to be more than pretty pictures — the show is meant to provide chromatic counterbalance at a time when modern life seems stark — when discourse is drawn increasingly along boxy lines, when the digital universe occupies much of our time in an exchange that is visual and cerebral but hardly tactile. To show images that are saturated, wet, oily, full, and floral is a deliberate provocation — an attempt to return the viewer to richer inner geographies, places within the mind that drip, teem, and overflow.
An avid photographer, teacher, and lifelong student of Indian tradition, Joshua Michael Schrei lectures internationally on the aesthetics of the Indian temple experience and Indian goddess traditions. He recently held a near sold-out slideshow at the Center for Contemporary Arts of photo work documenting rare Indian goddess traditions. As a photographer, Schrei has shown his work in New York, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. His sold-out solo photography show 'Cerrillos Road' at Cruz Gallery on Canyon Road earned the front cover of the Santa Fe Reporter and received positive critical acclaim.