Drifter History: New Work by Christopher Mahonski

Drifter History: New Works by Christopher Mahonski

November 21, 2015 – December 21, 2015

I’ve been trying to imagine the first tool. Maybe this is because we find ourselves in a time when our personal tool, whatever technological device it may be, completely defines us. Simple stone tools for cutting and scraping are sporadically discovered and attributed to human ancestors, but I’m more interested in the possible iterations of ephemeral tools that were not preserved in the geologic record. I imagine an evolution of these walking sticks / tools leading to things like canes, ceremonial talismans, wizard staffs and future implements for survival. For about two years I have been collecting and making these objects during my downtime in the studio. It’s a meditative process and fulfills an impulse to reanimate scrapes from failed projects and found materials that accumulate. These small works are free standing, or they are held up by an invisible entity, each one conjuring a specific and unknowable character. Drifter History is an ongoing project and collection that aims to become as diverse and unstable as humanity itself.

-Christopher Mahonski, November 2015


Christopher Mahonski was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and received his BFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. In 2009 he completed his MFA in sculpture at VCU. He has shown throughout the country and is a recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Art Fellowship, 7-Below Residency, Triangle Arts Residency, and a Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship. He is currently an adjunct instructor at VCU and Mary Washington.


McCabe, Bret. “Chris Mahonski’s show at Open Space invites us to trace the origins of the mythic ‘drifter’.” City Paper. 2 December 2015.

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