Cow Plane with Milk Cargo

Cow Plane with Milk Cargo, wooden whistle

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.

Roberts is prolific in her creative range of ideas, which also find their way into larger, complex sculptures with whistle components. One of these was a piece for Steven Spielberg commissioned by the wife of well-known composer John Williams, commemorating the ten movies on which he and Spielberg collaborated. New York City Mayor Giuliani received a Big Apple sculpture with appropriate whistles inside. Other well-known collectors of Roberts' work include celebrities such as Robin Williams and Carol Burnett.

text and image from Iowa Artisans Gallery

This page was first displayed
on June 28, 2006

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