University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts
Irena Keckes is an artist currently based in Auckland, New Zealand. She was born in Croatia, where she completed BA in art education and printmaking at the Academy of Arts, University of Zagreb (’00). Irena participated artists in residency projects in Japan (‘02), and Korea (‘05), and specialized Japanese woodblock printmaking, gaining Masters of Fine Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts (’05). She is presently a PhD candidate at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. As part of her doctoral research project Irena creates large woodcut prints, and researches links between ecologically engaged printmaking and Buddhist philosophy. She exhibited her artwork internationally at 16 solo presentations and many group exhibitions in Croatia, Japan, Korea, USA, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.
Artistic research: Printmaking and Eco-Buddhism
My current research investigates a relationship between printmaking and Buddhism via ecology, and analyses if and how the idea of green Buddhism may transform printmaking practices. The dialogue is built around connections of eco-Buddhist concepts and eco-friendly print technologies, and ways in which printmaking as a contemporary art practice may re-interpret ecological Buddhist doctrines. Alongside non-toxicity and Japanese woodcut printmaking, the discussion is focuses research methodologies. The presentation also briefly reflects on main philosophical points that underpin this research, and phenomenological, embodied way of knowing – an approach that combines intellectual and physical action that are constitutive to printmaking practice.
The Resonance of Repetition: Printmaking and Ecologically Engaged Buddhism
Aiming to contribute towards developing ecological mindfulness in art, my research looks into nexus of printmaking, Buddhist philosophy, and ecology. My practice employs Japanese water-based woodblock printmaking as a non-toxic method, and as a process that grew from earlier Buddhist tradition. Large-scale woodcuts produced in this method explore some of the vital Buddhist conceptions such as interconnectedness and emptiness. They as well examine a notion of repetition – not a repetition as the reproduction of prints, but a repetition of actions employed in processes that embody a meditative quality comparable to an effect gained from a repetition of Buddhist sutra.