Nate Ellefson: Soft Chop

Soft Chop takes an aesthetic stab at renegade culture


Nate Ellefson: 'Soft Chop'

Co-Lab Project Space,
Through Feb. 15

In Nate Ellefson's "Soft Chop," the artist nurtures an environment of stark imagery that adheres to the metaphoric underground and renegade guerrilla tactics. Composed of sculptures, installation work, and paintings – all of which adhere to a sense of unembellished, active aggression – the exhibition does not allude to any direct political inclination, but does explore the variances in methodology and visual representation of enviroterrorism.

"Soft Chop" was spurred by looking at how guerrilla and anarchist groups represent themselves visually through posters, digital symbols, and logos. Ellefson represents these crude attempts at agro-imagery through large sculptural works, rough-hewn but intentionally hostile, then translates the sculptures into smaller paintings, which offer nuance and depth that the sculptures, with their brute force, tend to shirk. Ellefson's installations anchor his ideology of extremism into palpable tools of intimidation; in this case, these would-be bombs are softened to be simply intimidating-looking tubs of sauerkraut and lacto-fermenting tubes of carrots. Ellefson wanted to indicate the resources available to extremist groups and act out visually what these acts of terrorism might materialize as.

"Soft Chop" is laden with ambition, not only to communicate an emotional construct of rage and displacement, but also to re-create an actual venue in which these efforts of terrorism take place. Ellefson successfully builds a visual dystopia. "Soft Chop" is thoughtful; it speaks to a dark humor that is subtly communicated to an audience tired of a culture that has fostered intense fear of terrorism, attack, and sabotage. We'd much rather see a tub of sauerkraut ready to blow than an actual bomb, but "Soft Chop" requires audiences to consider: Wherein lies the difference?

More Austin visual art
"Ryan Cronk: Migration Wisdom, Chalk Lines, Tracings, and Undertow"
This solo show explores new existential threats in sharp analytical prints and layered chaotic collage

Seth Orion Schwaiger, Sept. 5, 2014

"Michael Anthony García: Chimaera"
This ambitious solo show explores gender duality with the help of furniture and clothing borrowed from friends and family

Seth Orion Schwaiger, Aug. 29, 2014

More Arts Reviews
<i>Wars of Heaven: Smackdown!</i>
Wars of Heaven: Smackdown!
This Trouble Puppet Theater production takes the philosophic battle between good and evil into the pro-wrestling ring

Shanon Weaver, May 6, 2016

Out of Ink 2016: Carry On
Out of Ink 2016: Carry On
As usual, ScriptWorks' annual showcase of 10-minute plays is a bit rough but shows the promise of creative minds

Elizabeth Cobbe, May 6, 2016

More by Caitlin Greenwood
"Angelbert Metoyer: Life Machine" at the Canopy
For this Co-Lab Projects exhibit, a gallery at Canopy becomes a tomblike space for exploring religion

Nov. 27, 2015

Making the Most of EAST
Making the Most of EAST
Ten tips to help you keep your head in the crush of the East Austin Studio Tour

Nov. 20, 2015


Austin visual art, Nate Ellefson: Soft Chop, Co-Lab Project Space

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)