Artist: Irina Koukhanova
Sculptor Irina Koukhanova's piece, "Muse," celebrates Ferris State University's success in blending the arts and sciences with technology. "Muse" is an elegant piece, full of movement and meaning that will have an emotional impact on its viewers. The arches serve as rich symbols of the opportunities offered by the University, of new beginnings and rites of passage. The central form unites the arches through its blend of a DNA spiral with musical instruments and technological influences.
Constructed of painted steel, the sculpture borrows elements of the nearby architecture, resulting in a piece flexible enough to be harmonious with the landscape, yet distinctive enough to stand out from its surroundings. This complementing of art and architecture reflects the artist's belief that the two should be conceptually and philosophically interrelated.
"Living in the post-industrial world, we will have to move beyond seeing architecture as an extension of abstract art, and painting and sculpture as mere accessories to buildings," explained Koukhanova. "I view the Michigan Art Walk as a unified site-specific concept with meaningful iconography that derives both from the past and present."
Koukhanova's work has been exhibited throughout the United States, as well as in Moscow and Leningrad. Her sculptures have been purchased for private collections in New York, Germany, and Russia.
As an assistant professor of Art, she is a teacher of ceramics and sculpture at Kalamazoo College. Koukhanova received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics/Sculpture from the University of Notre Dame. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics/Visual Design from the University of Massachusetts, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Koukhanova completed "Muse" during a summer residency at the prestigious Sculpture Space, Inc., in Utica, New York. It was unveiled and put on permanent display at Ferris State University as part of the Michigan Art Walk on November 19, 1998.