Virginia Lee is an young English artist whose work is rich withsymbolism drawn from myth, folklore and fairy tales, exploring theways these symbols can be used to express themes of transformation.Her paintings and drawings of animal–women, tree–women, anddream–haunted young girls depict the deep connections betweenwomen’s lives and nature’s cycles. Such visions come from thewilderness — the primeval forest in mythic quests; the endangeredforests of our modern world; and the dark forests of the psyche,representing an inward journey through deep realms of the soul.
Virginia was born in Devon, England in 1976 and raised in asmall village on the edge of Dartmoor. As the daughter of theacclaimed English book artist Alan Lee (illustrator of J.R.R.Tolkien’s works) and the Dutch artist Marja Lee Kruÿt, she wassurrounded by the images of myths and fairy tales throughout herchildhood. At the age of 16, Virginia began a two–year course in Artand Design at Exeter College.She then took two years off to travelthrough Europe with friends, and to build up her portfolio. "By thistime," she says, "I had developed an interest in sculpting models ofa surreal nature, as well as continuing on with drawing, which hasbeen an integral part of my life." In 1996, she was accepted intothe Illustration course at Kingston University, where sheexperimented with model–making and animation, in addition totwo–dimensional illustration. Her Degree Show consisted of both two–and three–dimensional work. She explains that the work in this showwas inspired by themes of animal transformation in folk and fairytales. “I modeled some of the well known characters, imagining whatproblems they may have encountered in their various forms. Theconnection between nature and feminine cycles fascinates me, and formy major project I designed a series of pastel paintings calledInner Seasons. These depict a young girl’s realization of herphysical changes as she enters puberty, as she sees herselfreflected in the seasonal landscape around her.”