Telluride Arts’ HQ Gallery Presents:
The Right Tool for the Job: The Future of the Robot Industrial Revolution
Open through September 30, 2019
Telluride Arts’ HQ Gallery in Telluride, Colorado is proud to present, The Right Tool for the Job: The Future of the Robot Industrial Revolution, an exhibit by Dave Pressler. The Art Walk opening reception will be held Thursday, September 5, 5-8 p.m.
As the specter of the automation and artificial intelligence continue to advance, slowly replacing more and more blue-collar jobs, Dave Pressler imagines a parallel universe in which his classic robot characters must show up for factory work the same way we begrudgingly did at the turn of the 20th century. “We’re having another industrial revolution right now, but most people aren’t really talking about it,” explains Pressler. “There’s all this rhetoric about immigrants coming in and stealing blue-collar jobs, but it’s not really true. It’s the same thing that happened in the 1800s when local furniture-makers and garment makers were suddenly replaced by factories powered by steam and assembly-line workers. We’re seeing the same kind of job displacement that we did at the start of the 20th century, but this time it’s being driven by automation and AI.”
Pressler, a self-described blue-collar artist, hails from a working-class background in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Growing up in a factory town, he was always surrounded by people who made a living working with their hands. To this day, it informs how he sees his role in Hollywood and the low-brow, pop art worlds. Pressler originally moved to Los Angeles in his early 20s to pursue work as an actor, but in the 90s, he shifted dramatically toward production and character design. This work required the creativity of an artist, yes, but more importantly, it required the discipline to sit down and do it – to put in a hard day’s work and get ‘er done, not unlike a blue-collar job. From there, his career path almost became traditional, seeing him rise through the ranks to become production designer on the Jim Henson Company’s B.R.A.T.S. of the Lost Nebula, followed by The Save-Ums and Team Smithereen. Eventually, he co-created the Emmy-nominated Robot and Monster for Nickelodeon, all while continuing to develop himself as an illustrator, painter, and sculptor in the low-brow art market. All of his two decade-plus career was explored recently in his retrospective museum exhibition, “Idea to Object”, at Lancaster Museum of Art.
The humorous but gritty worlds populated with robots and monsters that Pressler creates have always involved his characters begrudgingly fulfilling their duties, almost like holding up a robot-tinted mirror to the lives we have to live to make money and keep society going. For the first time ever, with this automation and AI-driven industrial revolution we’re currently witnessing, Pressler’s whimsical robot world is coming into its own and perhaps serving as an extension of reality. Pressler’s newest exhibition humorous goes beyond the scenes of what the robots will have to deal with as we pass off more and more work to them.