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international painting annual 2 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Virginia Lee
Toronto, Ontario

page 124

detail image


I treat my canvas as a living medium hosting disparate elements of altered realities rearranged in new organic forms. I like to depict our ever changing world from various points of view, in a multilayered re-creation of the obvious and the hidden, to the subtle and fantastic of now and then. I draw from my surroundings for inspiration, and use various elements of reality to create a new realism somewhere between figuration and abstraction: a meta-realist imagery challenging our senses into a realm of intuitive discoveries.  I envision a bond of myths and legends weaving our past to our future.  I see our urban ecology in perpetual mutation, and consider our ephemeral presence almost insignificant in cosmological terms, but all encompassing in the fleeting moments symbolized in this framework.   I imagine the evolution of our environment captured in a spatio-temporal discontinuity, where nature and society intimately intertwine in a fable of incongruities.  These improbable juxtapositions embody the essence of my current work, which I hope can trigger some healthy reflections, and perhaps help connect the dots where no paths were previously imagined possible, like finding new trails in the old forest, or exploring the back roads of a new city, where the joy of discovery is more fulfilling than a safe return home.

Monarch Visit was inspired by the incredible journey of the Monarch Butterfly, traveling over 4000 km between Mexico and Canada, to feed and breed on poisonous milkweed by the side of the road.  I endeavoured to portray their fascinating odyssey from a butterfly's perspective, with fast moving wing action blowing over this invisible but ineluctable road, bordered by dangerous havens and bountiful weeds.  I tried to give the viewer a sense of familiarity within the skewed perspectives and odd proportions of this metaphoric adventure, while staying away from the traditional figurative representations, to see if our overall apprehension of this fragmented portrayal could somehow be reconstructed, or understood on a different level, without the customary realistic references.

I let my intuition guide my brush and invariably find new directions and deeper meaning than I possibly could have planned for these paintings.  When I paint, I feel like I am in a state of hypnosis, reaching parts of my subconscious that would otherwise remain neglected.  I find this type of artistic exploration very liberating and self affirming at the same time.  It's almost like owning the crystal ball. I just wish to share my vision with everyone willing to look beyond the surface.


born: 1962, Hong Kong


York University, Toronto, BA 1984

selected awards/honors

Abstract Painting, 1st Prize,

selected publications

Cover of Artist Portfolio Magazine, Issue 3

selected group shows

Tech. Showcase 2011, IX-Gallery, Toronto, Sept.29, 2011


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