Art Review: Circumference of cellophane

By Rebecca Pfliger

Walking down the aisles in a grocery store is a monotonous chore for some. For others, it is a search for inspiration. While shopping, Marcus Beil was on a quest to find material. His assignment was to make a sculpture for less than $10. What caught his eye inspired him beyond the realms of the project.

Circumference is one the Art Gallery of Calgary’s newest exhibitions featuring a handful of Marcus’ Cello-forms. His art doesn’t evolve into the monstrous shapes covered in Saran Wrap overnight however. After wrapping small things around the home like telephones, Beil decided to create steel frames for the plastic wrap.

“I didn’t realize the potential of Saran Wrap,” he explains.

The steel began to bend and flex as he added more layers of the household wrap. The frames shrunk from more than half of their original size under the pressure.

“It’s the strength of the steel versus the strength of the Saran Wrap. I’m the mediator, the language between the two,” he adds with a chuckle. “Even though that sounds really cheesy.”

The steel frames wrapped in plastic are visually interesting and very unconventional. The strong yet flexible pieces blend physics and geometry.

“I decide what order to wrap it, but there are uncontrollable factors that keep me from predicting the final result. I try to make them perfect, but I realize that the Saran Wrap and the steel are going to do their own thing,” he says.

Beil, a fourth year acad student, finds having a medium helps to create itself into greatness. When looking at his work, it is impossible to tell which curves are supported by the steel frame and which ones are composed only of Saran Wrap.

“I’m all about the materials,” says Beil.

The evolution of his art is apparent as the Cello-forms change shape and style. The newest of his pieces is a tangled ball of metal and heavy duty wrap. It’s a stark contrast to the smooth, natural shapes of the other pieces. The commonality is how Beil sees them, describing his reflective pieces as information.

“The whole piece is an archive. Every layer is a new layer of information. The final form is an archive of tension.”

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