Bob "Plaseebo" 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. Later 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 numerous 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 2003, Conge began working on his series of assemblages - “SHRINES”. www.bobconge.com And in 2005 Conge founded his sculpture studio, Plaseebo, and is currently producing small and large works for exhibition in vinyl, cast resin, fiberglass and bronze. www.plaseebo.net
I have often thought of toys as small sculpture. They are miniature interpretations of things that are often unattainable in the "real" world. They enable a child to become General Patton directing the Third Army of die cast Dinky tanks through the dirt in his own backyard or allow an adult to time travel back to that moment in the backyard of his memory. This spurring of the imagination is certainly the stuff of Art.
I call the way I build my figures "Frankensculpt", because they are cobbled together from unrelated parts in a sculpting process which breathes a new life into them. I like my figures to be edgy, quirky, punkish, dark, more like Franz Kafka than Walt Disney.
Sometimes the work is inspired by my concern for what I see as deplorable human behavior such as our war in Iraq, which inspired my WAR figure or my anger over the unfair practices of Banks which resulted in my sculpting the " Bank America " piece. Other times it may bubble up from distant childhood memories or fears. Whatever the direction or medium of expression, the drive is to bring to life a personal vision in the form of a new figure.