Conger loves to paint the water towers of Manhattan's “roofscape,” the vast expanse of rooftops visible to him from his ninth floor studio windows, but sadly not to people on the street. In the same spirit as Monet painting hay bales, Conger captures in oils the wooden water tanks at different times of day and over all four seasons to show the perpetually changing colors and shadows of these antiques from another time.
"Blessed Manhattan" (above) depicts Venus reclining on a bed of clouds over an expanse of water towers, skylights, pipes, chimneys, and the many windows that Conger has been able to study from his studio windows, and formerly from a roof deck in the Flatiron Building. The magical realism of Conger's earlier paintings has begun morphing into fantasy and surrealism; in his latest paintings, the water tanks have begun escaping their bonds and rising into the air.
Fine art oil painting is Gary Conger's second career. He began by taking classes at the School of Visual Arts in 2004 and became excited by his prospects when a cityscape he painted in one of his classes got rave reviews. The "Magical Manhattan" views in these paintings were created in two different 9th floor studios in Manhattan where Conger was able to look across the roof horizon and see in detail the majestic wooden water towers, unique to New York, that became his favorite subject to paint. Conger is a small-town Midwesterner who came to New York and fell in love with the city. He hopes that comes through in his paintings.
Conger has had twelve exhibitions since 2008; nine in New York, two in Connecticut and one in Ohio.