Russian-born Irina Koukhanova was educated at the Moscow Institute of Art and Industrial Design (Stroganovskoe), the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, MA, and the University of Notre Dame, IN. Her devotion to using a wide range of materials emphasizing their inherited symbolism was developed into a body of work bridging the gap between installation art and object making. In recent years, Koukhanova has added a fourth dimension to her sculptural work by expanding into two-dimensional work through printing techniques and drawing. Her multi-media works often use mythological figures of folklore to comment on and explore the spirit of upheaval, in contemporary society.
In the past ten years, Koukhanova has participated in numerous exhibitions both national and international. Her solo exhibition in 2010 at DKO Galerie, Zurich Switzerland, subsequently offered her a gallery representation. In 2013, she was awarded Best of Show in Box Heart Gallery's "Art Inter/National" exhibition. She was named BoxHeart's 2014 Artist of the Year, and her solo exhibition "Panoptic Landscape" took place from March 18th - May 16th, 2014. In 2015 Koukhanova's artwork was featured in the ND Alumni Sculptors and Professors exhibit at the Snite Museum of Art and the Sound Bend Museum of Art. Her artwork has been exhibited at LA Art Show Los Angeles California, Aqua Art during Art Basel Miami Beach and at the Superfine! Art Fair in New York City during Frieze.
Koukhanova has three completed public art commissions in which she dealt with all aspects of large scale project proposal and fabrication. The highlight of her temporary large scale outdoor work was included in Navy Pier Walk, Chicago, juried by David Pagel, where she exhibited a 16' high sculpture fabricated out of steel and marine vinyl. She has participated in and won awards at national juried group exhibitions at Boston Sculptors Gallery, MA, Owensboro Museum of Art, KY, Marlboro Gallery, MD, Indianapolis Art Center, IN among others. Koukhanova curated and juried a variety of exhibitions. In 2012 she was chosen to be a juror of a National Margo Harris Hammerschlag Direct Carving Award, N.A.W.A.
Koukhanova has received highly competitive full scholarship residencies at Sculpture Space, Utica NY, Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico (both sponsored by Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants), and Vermont Studio Center. She is currently the head of the sculpture program at Cleveland State University, and has been teaching in that capacity since 1999. She also has a continuing engagement with Summer Academy, Venice where she has taught Master classes in sculpture for the past six years. Koukhanova was also a Creative Workforce Fellow 2016. The Creative Workforce Fellowship is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.