Orpheum Theater

Orpheum Theater

Trained as a figurative painter, Constance Alyce Westvig Roberts calls herself a "thing-maker." In her work, she bridges the realms of fine art and folk art and tackles many subjects with sharp wit and unrestrained humor. Roberts creates carved wooden whistles, but this isn't always obvious at first glance. Usually, the viewer gets caught up taking in all the images presented by these sculptural pieces: a wedge of chocolate cake with a birthday candle whistle, a dog angel, or perhaps a bag of whistling circus peanuts. Her work seems to follow three different tracks: popular culture where, for example, real-looking candy bars with familiar names are altered slightly to bring new meaning such as "Sneakers Bars" or "Nestegg Crunch." Nursery rhymes and cartoon images, and political commentary are two other themes that influence her ideas.

This whistle sculpture is a "Genius Piece" and is fully one-of-a-kind. When open, the theater reveals a full stage complete with "acts" of all kinds. Audience members, alley dwellers (yes, there is a side door) and janitorial staff- it's all there in its sassy, humorous way. The piece measures 16" by 24" by 25" when closed. The whistles are stored in the drawer below the stage, and the piece looks great when it's closed up.

text and image from Iowa Artisans Gallery

This page was first displayed
on December 20, 2011

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