Marlene Lees’s work considers society’s warped self-perception in this new age of the gym phenomenon. Lees’s current work considers the clinical, futuristic utopia of the gym and the disengaged relationship to nature and ones body in this controlled and measured environment. The disengagement to the natural environment and the detached hostility of the gym is demonstrated by the frame, which alludes to gym equipment and machinery, the structure upon which the ‘ideal’ body is built.
Lees evokes the nature of the body by painting examinations of flesh onto large unstretched canvas. This scrutiny of the body demonstrates society’s superficial emphasis on the physical body within the popular gym culture. Lees’s paintings are sculpted to create shape and form, which instigates the complex dialogue between painting and sculpture, a theme Lees continues to explore in her work.