Bob Conge


Born in 1939 in a rural environment in Upstate New York, Bob Conge was introduced to painting while studying in the School of Art at Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating in 1962, he continued his studies in the College of Art at Syracuse University where he received his MFA degree in painting in 1964.

During the summers of 1964 and 1965 Conge was the director of the J. Thomas Gallery in Provincetown, MA.

In the fall of 1964, Conge was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany grant for painting. Also in 1964, he returned to Rochester Institute of Technology as a full time assistant professor where he taught in the School of Art through 1968.

From the fall of 1968 through 1969, Conge was the director of a Title III Project for the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.

In 1970, Conge established his graphic design and illustration studio in Rochester, New York where he consistently produced award winning work for his clients during the next thirty years. Conge’s clients have included: American Express, AT&T, Bank of America, Citibank, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, IBM, Mobil Corp., The Mirage-Las Vegas, New York Times, Sprint, Sony Music, National Public Radio, Volkswagen, The Wall Street Journal, to name just a few.

From this period forward Conge has also continued to produce and exhibit his personal works in numorous Museums and Galleries.

Conge’s work is known internationally and he is represented in public and university collections in the United States, Europe, Japan and China including:

* Museum of Modern Art - Toyama, Japan
* Musee de la Publicite - Paris, France
* Lahti Poster Museum - Lahti, Finland
* Moravian Gallery - Brno, Czechoslovakia
* Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO
* International Poster Museum - Warsaw, Poland
* The German Poster Museum - Essen, Germany
* Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences - Norfolk, VA
* State University at Cortland - Cortland, NY
* Everson Museum of Art - Syracuse, NY
* Marine Midland Trust Company - Syracuse, NY
* Mobil Chemical Corp.- New York, NY
* Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY
* University of Rochester - Rochester, NY
* Dansk Poster Museum - Aarhus, Denmark
* Colorado State University Libraries, Kluge Project,
Fort Collins, CO
* University of Utah, Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, UT
* University of Connecticut, School of Fine Arts - Storrs, CT

In 1995, Conge and his wife Sue moved to a rural setting in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate New York where Conge’s studio is now located in a converted 19th century carriage house.

In 2003, Conge began working on his current series of assemblages - “SHRINES” and in 2005 he founded Plaseebo Custom to promote the art of the toy.

Additional examples of work may be viewed at:


The Shrine series

I am a collector, and have always been as far as I can recall. I remember, as a young boy, my most prized possession being a small box in which I kept colorful or uniquely shaped stones, butterfly wings, bird's feet, dried flowers, a skull I had carved from wood, a small red plastic A-Bomb, and a wave-washed piece of deep blue glass. This first collection was a micro cosmos of my world at that time.

Since then, my world and the collection it reflects, has grown to include many other items including Mexican carved wood masks. It was while I was researching these masks that I discovered the 19th century Nichos of New Mexico.

I began building my shrines in 2003, having been inspired by the contextual forms of these nichos, and the roadside shrines to accident victims that I saw while traveling in Greece.

The Spanish nichos (a niche or box) serves as a sacred shrine for home worship, and the road side shrines are memorials to the time and place of the death of a loved one.

The construction and exterior surface of my shrines reflect the traditional ethnic wooden nichos in form, color and archaic textures. My boxes imply the historic connection to their inspirational form. I see them as vintage stages upon which one-act plays are performed by objects that life has used and discarded.

The interiors of traditional nichos are embellished with Christian objects of worship, hand-carved wooden figures of Christ, Mary or various saints, clothed in delicate fabrics surrounded by dried or paper flowers and colorful ribbon.

The interiors of my shrines explore the themes of contemporary American worship, and those core experiences of life that shape who we have become as human beings.

My interiors are more akin to the mind of Franz Kafka salted with vague memories of the curio museums on the Boardwalk of Coney Island.

Each box holds a collection of things found and life experienced in an arrangement guided by some internal poetry.