Born and raised Saskatchewan, Marian Wihak is a Toronto based interdisciplinary artist. Originally trained in theatre design, and with a long-standing career as a film and theatre designer as well as an established painting practice, Marian returned to school in recent years and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design from OCADU.  Her current work builds on her familiarity with and understanding of spatial responsiveness and metaphoric narrative, integrating her design and visual art practices to develop new possibilities in immersive and experiential environments. This serves her overarching interest in the overlapping perceptive and phenomenological aspects of chaos, the sublime and duration.

Marian has been the recipient of numerous nominations and awards for her theatre and film design work and as a visual artist has being supported by the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council. She was also a Finalist in the RBC Painting Competition (2001).

Her work can has been exhibited across Canada and can be found in private and corporate collections in North America.


My practice is focused on developing environments that are situated within the realm of a phenomenological and aesthetic experience. Vacillating between the haptic and the evocative, the work cloaks itself in the guise of alluring beauty while challenging the participants’ perception and expectations. Driving my inquiry are overarching notions of connectivity, duration, and evolutionary process encompassing both chaos and the sublime. These concerns are manifested in projects completed in recent years such as The Veil of Nature, Archaean, Ovim Quadratum and Deep Circularity as well as the upcoming Tideline.

Being a visual artist and a designer I embrace the ephemeral nature of light as a primary thematic element, and the sustenance it provides in physical, psychic and symbolic terms, manipulating it through the use of multiple frames, layering, and translucency within my creative language. Presently realized through spatial manipulation, video, and projections, my work is strongly informed by my experience as a painter and also as a conjurer of three-dimensional, metaphoric, narrative environments. At the core of my practice resides the belief in the potential of the aesthetic experience to inform and transform our lives; through its capacity to show us something we didn’t know we knew, it invites surprise, reflection, and contemplation, igniting the imaginative leap.

My current installation-based work signifies the important integration of my visual art and design practices in which I employ a wide range of analogue and sculptural-material elements situated within site-responsive, three-dimensional environments. My goal is to engage the viewer-participant in a compelling scenario that invites questions amid confusing pleasure, prompting questions about one’s own state of being in the world and within the larger, encompassing, fluid sense of time.



OCADU, Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media & Design (Part Time Program) 2010-2014

-SSHRC affiliated Internship on ‘The Secret Doctrine’ theatre workshop, June 2012

-Fogo Island Thematic Residency, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. May 2011

Banff Centre, Self-Directed Creative Residency in Visual Art, March, 2009

Studio Arts Centre International, Florence, Italy: Painting, Drawing, Art History, 1984

Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Part-time studies, painting, Various years

University of Regina, Sask., BFA 1977 with Distinction – Theatre major/Visual Art minor

-Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Halifax, Selected studio classes,

-Nova Scotia Technical College, Halifax, N.S. Selected architecture studies

-Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.Theatre studies

Banff School of the Arts: Theatre program, Stagecraft Apprenticeship, 1975



2018     Marking Time, Loop Gallery, Toronto (upcoming October 2018)

2014     Deep Circularity, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Toronto (April 2014)

2012     Boundless: Sublime Maelstrom, Rotunda Gallery, Kitchener

2011      Boundless: Sublime Maelstrom, Cube Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario

2009     Boundless: Sublime Maelstrom, Art Gallery of Regina, Regina Saskatchewan

2007     Boundless: The View From Here Rotunda Gallery, Kitchener

2006     Interior Spaces: LIminal Places, Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County


2018      Excavation (…closer to where we began), Toronto Design Offsite Festival (upcoming January 2018)

2017      Excavation (…closer to where we began), Sculpting New Reads, Word on the Street, Toronto

2017     Élan Vital, Come Up To My Room at the Gladstone, Toronto Design Offsite

2015     Tidelines, IngenuityFest, Cleveland, Ohio, USA (October, 2015)

2014     Deep Circularity, Art Spin, Toronto

2013     Take a penny, leave a penny, Scotia Bank Plaza, Nuit Blanche, Toronto, in collaboration with Martha Griffith

              Ovum Quadratum, site-specific installation, Hazelton Arts Festival, Toronto

              Veil of Nature, multi-platform installation in collaboration with Patricia Gruben & Martin Gotfrit, Goldthorpe Arts Centre, Vancouver

              Ebb and Flow, Video ArtBox, Artist Project, Toronto

2012     Archaean, Gladstone Hotel, Nuit Blanche, Toronto, in collaboration with Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea & Tahireh Lal

2012     Small Works, Arts Etobicoke Gallery, Toronto

2011      Weather, Airspace Gallery, Terminal I, Pearson International Airport, Toronto

2009     Forces of Nature, curated by Christian Bernard Singer, Rouge Concept Gallery, Toronto

              Group Show, Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County

              Homage, Cube Gallery, Ottawa

2008    Made to Measure, Arts Etobicoke Gallery, Toronto

              Aeolian, Mysteria Gallery, Regina Sask.                                                                                  

              Insomnia,  RedHead Gallery, Toronto (affiliated with Nuit Blanche)

              Art 401, The Gladstone Hotel, Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto

2007    30th Annual Juried Show, Art Gallery of Mississauga with Visual Arts Mississauga

              City at Night: A Tribute to Brian Kipping, Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto

2006     You Are Here: The Emotional Geography of Place, Eastern Front Gallery, Toronto

              29th Annual Juried Show, Art Gallery of Mississauga with Visual Arts Mississauga

               Insomnia, RedHead Gallery, Toronto (affiliated with Nuit Blanche)

              Whodunit, OCAD, Toronto

              Holiday Glow, Engine Gallery, Toronto

2005    Hi-Light, curated by Kelly McCray at Edward Day Gallery, Toronto

              Square Foot 2005, AWOL Gallery, Toronto

             Whodunit, OCAD, Toronto

2004    Light Falls, Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County

             Whodunit, OCAD, Toronto

2001    RBC Private Counsel, New Canadian Painting Competition; Exhibition of 5 Eastern Finalists, Gallery One, Toronto

1997-2003     Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Annual juried exhibition


Come Up To My Room 2017: Gladstone Hotel’s Annual Alternative Design Event, pg.37

DesignLines Magazine online,January 20, 2017;

Toronto Life Magazine online, January 20,2017;

Akimblog by Terence Dick on July 3, 2014 ( re Art Spin 2014)

Must-sees this week: June 26-July 2, 2014”, Canadian Art

“Power Play”, Canadian House and Home;  March 2009, pg. 107

RBC Painting Competition: Ten Years”, published by RBC, edited by Laurel MacMillan

“Marian Wihak Interior Spaces: Liminal Places”, catalogue, Dr. Twyla Gibson, May/06

The Show of the Summer”, Gallery Going, The Globe & Mail, R9, Aug. 13/05

Shine the Light on New Shutter Talent”, Peter Goddard, Toronto Star, Aug. 19/05]

Lightscapes”, 401 Update, Fall 2005, Volume 12, Issue 3

The RBC New Canadian Painting Competition 2001 Catalogue.

TV or not TV”, Montage Magazine, Winter 1999, pg.29


Cygnus Investment Partners, Toronto

The Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina

Urban Space Property Group, Toronto

The Ontario Power Authority, Toronto

The Salman Partners, Toronto

The Salman Partners, Calgary

Danpack Incorporated, Kansas City, Kansas, USA

Private Collections in Canada and the USA


2017 Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant (Élan Vital)

2013     Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant (w Martha Griffith; Take a Penny)

2012     Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant  (w Gustavo Benjumea: Archaean, Gladstone Hotel, Nuit Blanche)

2012     Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant (Sublime Maelstrom, Rotunda Gallery)

2009     Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant (Boundless: Sublime Maelstrom, Art Gallery of Regina)

2008     Canada Council for the Arts Research and Creation Grant

2007     Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant (Boundless: the view from here, Rotunda Gallery)

2001     Eastern Finalist, The RBC New Canadian Painting Competition


Member of: CARFAC




Pacamambo; Set Design, Canadian Rep Theatre, Dir. Ken Gass

Exquisite Vibrations; Design Consultant, Esprit Orchestra, Dir. Alex Pauk, in collaboration with Edward Burtynsky & John Price

Bethune Imagined; Set Design, Factory Theatre, Dir. Ken Gass

Featuring Loretta; Set Design, Factory Theatre, Dir. Ken Gass

Apple; Set Design, Factory Theatre, Dir. Ken Gass

The Leisure Society; Set Design, Factory Theatre, Dir. Ken Gass

            * Dora Mavor Moore Nomination for Best Set Design*

At Last; Set Design, Harbourfront Danceworks, Choreographer Heidi Strauss


Mulroney: the Opera; Production Design, Rhombus Media/Prod:Jessica Daniels/Dir. Larry Weinstein

A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story; Production Design, Lifetime/Sony Pictures/Exec Prod: Zev Braun & Philip Krupp/Dir:Agnieszka Holland

Heyday!; Production Design, CBC/Triptych Media/Pope Productions /Prod: Anna Stratton, Robin Cass, Paul Pope/Dir: Gordon Pinsent.

            * Gemini Nomination for Best Production Design *

            * DGC Nomination for Best Production Design *

Burnt Toast; Production Design, CBC/Rhombus Media with Marble Media/Prod:J.Daniel, M. Homburg/Dir: Larry Weinstein

Julie Walking Home; Production Design, ImX, The Film Works, Art OKO Film, Studio Film One / Dir: Agnieszka Holland

Milgaard; Production Design, CTV/BarnaAlper/Alliance/Prod: Laszlo Barna/Dir: Stephen Williams

            *Gemini Award for Best Television Film*

Pit Pony; Production Design, CBC/Cochran Entertainment/Prod: Andrew Cochran/Dir: Eric Till

            *Gemini Award for Best Production Design*

Dido and Aeneas; Production Design, CBC/Rhombus Media/Mark Morris Dance Co./Prod: Niv Fichman/Dir: Barbara Willis Sweete

September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill; Co-Designer with Michael Levine, Rhombus Media, CBC, ZDF/Prod: Niv Fichman/Dir: Larry Weinstein

            *Gemini Award for Best Production Design*