Marian Bantjes: I Wonder March 2 to June 5 at Onsite [at] OCAD U

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 5:00am

(Toronto — February 3, 2011) Onsite [at] OCAD University (OCAD U) presents the exhibition I Wonder by Canadian typographer, designer, artist and writer Marian Bantjes, opening March 2 and continuing until June 5, 2011. In addition to the exhibition, her first solo show in Canada, Bantjes will present a free public talk on March 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Bantjes’s recent book, also titled I Wonder (The Monacelli Press, 2010) and already in its second printing, has been called a 21st century illuminated manuscript (Steven Heller, New York Times, December 2010) because of its opulence, featuring gold leaf and ornate illustrations and fonts. Produced on a small island off Canada’s west coast, Bantjes’ personal, obsessive and sometimes strange graphic work has brought her international recognition. Her illustrations draw on her deep relationship with letterforms, and reveal a devotion to complexity, logic and structure manifest as lovingly precise vector art, pattern and ornament.

“When I first held I Wonder, I thought I ‘got it,’” explained Lisa Deanne Smith, the exhibition’s curator. “But, I soon realized the need to experience it differently than most books. It integrates visual abundance with intellectual savvy, to dazzle its reader with images and text alike.” The exhibition encourages viewers to spend time with the book in the company of lavish wall coverings, a lounge area and a wide range of works that emphasize Bantjes’ skilful practice and complex thinking. A special audio work has been commissioned by Onsite [at] OCAD U for this show. The exhibition is an occasion to wonder and to be in wonder.

Bantjes’s work has been published in books and magazines worldwide, and has been acquired for permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (Smithsonian) in New York. She has lectured on her work throughout the United States and around the world, including South Africa, Argentina, Norway, France and New Zealand. In 2010, she spoke at the renowned TED Conference in Long Beach, California. In 2008, she was accepted as a member of the prestigious international design organization Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Marian Bantjes: I Wonder
March 2 to June 5, 2011

Artist’s Talk: March 1, 6:30 p.m.
Reception: March 2, 7 to 9 p.m.
Curator’s Tour: March 10, 6:30 p.m.

Additional events:

Exhibition Insight Tours:
Thursday, April 7, 6:30 p.m.: Keith Ruston
, Chair of Graphic Design at OCAD University
Thursday, May 5, 6:30 p.m.: Rachel Gotlieb, Design Curator and co-author of Design in Canada: Fifty Years from Teakettles to Task Chairs

About Onsite [at] OCAD U
Formerly called “The Professional Gallery,” Onsite [at] OCADU ( was launched in 2007 with Rirkrit Tiravanija’s first solo exhibit in Canada. Since then, it has hosted solo and group shows featuring dozens of nationally and internationally significant contemporary artists and designers, enriching OCADU’s educational experience while helping to make this university an indispensable cultural resource for the region.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)