Vole came into being from Jane Tolmie (Rhodes Scholar, Queen’s University prof) through the inspiration of Virginia Woolf, as is celebrated in the first text of the project, Meet Vole. Literature is open to everybody, she cried. So Vole emerged to move freely through high and low culture, unencumbered by gender, race, stature, or politic. Pest is best. Tolmie’s verse directly references historical or contemporary literature; some well-known, some obscure, some her own. Rath was contacted to create artwork that could reflect selected verses in any manner of illustrative approaches. The text and images in this proposal are sample results of this cross-country collaboration – Tolmie in Kingston, ON, and Rath in Smithers, BC – begun in 2007 and ongoing.
Vole’s role serves to explore and provide commentary on many subtle and overt aspects of our fragmented and stratified history and society, since Vole generally finds itself an under-respected outcast. So, a vole becomes creative in encountering the simple joys, discoveries and struggles of life. It is no wonder that the arts appreciate Vole, and Vole appreciates the arts. All too often, we amount to the same thing.
Rath creates the images in an 8”x8” format, framed at 13”x13” dimensions. Each image is paired with its corresponding verse, framed separately at the same dimensions (approx. 13″x27″ per pairing).