Gareth Bate

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Do you find looking

at art intimidating?



Art World Untangled


This Spring I'll Be Your Guide

To The Toronto Art World.

  • Ever visited a museum and felt like you didn’t understand what you were looking at?

  • Is modern and contemporary art baffling to you?

  • Ever wished you could have people to discuss art with and ask questions?



Join me for Season 5

Registration opens in March 2017.


Season 1-4 had 697 bookings!

Choose from 25 Art Trips


Join a great group of people as we explore the amazing artworks in Toronto's museums and galleries.

My name's Gareth Bate. I'm a full time artist, curator and teacher of art history, drawing and painting. I'm knowledgable and experienced and very familiar with the local scene. I also love visiting museums and galleries!

I want art to make sense to you. Art should be accessible, understandable and relevant to the broader world. This is a non-judgemental environment and a zero artspeak zone. I have no time for art world snobs, or pretension.

Experience the art world with all the inspiration and none of the bullshit.

Art is for everyone.


“Gareth is the most amazing teacher I've had to date. He really brings his knowledge and passion into each class. He is an engaging teacher and his passion for art is contagious. He shares his thoughts on art but encourages you to think for yourself. His classes are creative, informative, quirky and fun. He loves to teach and wants to share everything he can about art with you. He is a skilled teacher and strives to make every student feel comfortable and welcome. It changed the way I see art. He is an intelligent, sensitive teacher with a great sense of humour.”
- Frances Cumberland




Art World Untangled trips
are for people who want to…

  • Learn about art in an unintimidating and friendly environment where your perspective is valued.
  • Join a fun group of people where you can have interesting discussions about art.
  • Become confident looking at art and interpreting it.
  • Experience art with a knowledgable guide.

If you want to take full advantage of the most exciting Toronto art shows this Spring this is perfect for you. Ask me anything.


“Changes? ‘Big time’! As a result of Gareth's courses I not only enrolled as a member at the AGO but I took to the road and explored Art museums in Boston, Washington D.C., New York City, Montreal and Ottawa. I never would have explored these great museums had I not enrolled in Gareth's course.”

- John McGoff.


Or you could miss out…

What most people do when feeling intimidated by art is to disengage or not even try. Or they get angry when art is challenging to their world view.

That’s a real shame.

I believe that art is the greatest thing we do as human beings. Encounters with art can be powerful, inspiring and sometimes even life changing. By not engaging with art you are missing out on some of the most compelling things that humans have made throughout history. With so many terrible things going on in the world, for me museums are a place of refuge, a kind of sacred space.



Here's what I find really sad…

  • Missing once in a lifetime exhibitions that have come to Toronto.
  • Feeling intimidated walking into art galleries.
  • Thinking art is a scam or impossible to decipher.
  • Wandering around museums not knowing which artworks matter and which don’t.


No art background - No problem.

You don’t have to know anything in advance about art. Just bring your enthusiasm and your own life experience. The intimidation many people feel around art is a failure of the art world and something I want to change.

You're NOT arriving as a blank slate and are quite capable of understanding it on some level.


“I believe I look at art far more differently than I did when I began taking the art history course and the museum classes. I now look at art for a longer period of time and now can really understand the various styles of each artist. I appreciate art far more now for it’s uniqueness and variances than I ever had before.” - Rachelle Bronfman.


It's time to stop ignoring Toronto.

In Toronto we generally ignore our own artists because we're always focused on other cities. We don't appreciate the amazing things we have right here. Toronto is filled with great exhibitions.

When I go to shows I feel engaged with with the city. This is our culture.

Galleries are an excellent way to learn about what the artists of our time are creating. They have dedicated themselves to expressing the spirit of our age. Isn’t it important that we listen to what they're saying?


“What a wonderful experience! I really appreciated how organized you were and how you were also able to create space for the spontaneity of personal expression. I was also impressed with how you invited and validated the personal perspectives of everyone in the group. That's a really special quality. I've been raving about the experience to anyone who will listen.” - Christopher Lawley (Founder, StaffRoom Wellness)



Here's how the class works...

Get together with a group of people who love to look at art.

Each trip is a vigorous look at a section of a museum or temporary show. The class is usually two hours long with a maximum of 12 participants. It's a vastly different experience to spend a few hours in a show. We tend to walk through museums as if we can't wait to get out of there. In the permanent collections often the work is arranged with little sense of order, story or timeline. It’s confusing and hard to actually learn about the art.

Until now.

These trips are not a typical museum tour. You'll never be standing in front of a painting with me talking at you. This isn't a passive class. It's interactive. I'm interested in what YOU have to say. I visit the show the week before and plan a handout with questions. I also create a slideshow on my laptop giving you the context so often missing from the show. Exhibitions assume the audience knows art history in advance - I don't make that assumption.

We often talk about:
  • How to interpret the imagery.
  • The evolution of the work and how it was made.
  • The artists's life story and their influences.
  • The social and historical context.
  • The curatorial vision of the exhibition.


"Gareth values the ideas of his students. We were asked to look at paintings without reading descriptors until after we had explored the work on our own. Gareth always makes us feel as if we have something worthwhile to offer and just because we are not artists or art critics ourselves, what we think has value. I really liked the open ended questions Gareth provided to help us look more deeply at a painting. The questions also provided a jumping off point for group discussion. He clearly planned each visit before hand with care and insight." - Wendy Ryerson



About Me

My name is Gareth Bate and I’m a full time artist, curator and art teacher. I work in painting, installation and photography. I've been asked if everything I do revolves around art and the answer is pretty much yes! I've travelled extensively and visited all the major museums in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Montreal and Cape Town. I'm Festival Curator of the World of Threads Festival an international festival of contemporary fibre and textile art in Oakville. I graduated with a BFA from OCAD University and a diploma from Central Tech's adult art program. I've been teaching since 2008. I’ve been featured on CBC News and Radio Canada and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Now Magazine and La Presse among others.

Here are the courses I teach:
Art World Untangled
Art History: The Masters: 1400-1850
Art History: The Moderns: 1850-1980
Abstract Painting
Outdoor Abstract City Drawing
Colour Mixing Boot Camp


“You always find the most interesting art, that I almost wish that I could pack you up and bring you on my trips.” - K.S.


Here were last Fall's trips...

Spring 2017 trips will

be announced in March.

Each trip is a separate event. So when you see multiple trips for one show that's the same trip offered twice.


Theaster Gates Art Gallery of Ontario


AGO: Theaster Gates

Art Gallery of Ontario: Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum

Gates is an African-American artist from Chicago. His work is made of video, performance, installation, painting and sculpture. It honours black history and experience through key figures like George Black, Frankie Knuckles and Muddy Waters. The work I've seen involves projections of musical performances. The show uses the idea of the "House Museum" which honours an important historical figure. This will be a dramatic show and a very different experience. (Admission not included)

Trip #2: Sat. Oct. 1, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


Toronto Skyline


AGO: Contemporary Toronto Art PART 1

Art Gallery of Ontario: Toronto: Tributes and Tributaries: 1971 - 1989

Overview of Part 1 and 2: This fall two institutions - the AGO and the Museum at the University of Toronto - are aiming to present a comprehensive overview of the origin story of Toronto contemporary art. We'll compare the histories that each curator is constructing. Both are curated by high profile curators. These shows are important since Toronto art suffers from a serious lack of historicizing. And since I'm ever a contrarian I'll be sure to show you who I think aught to be in the shows who havn't been included!

The AGO show is curated by Wanda Nanibush the new curator of contemporary native art. This show focuses on the 70's and 80's a vibrant period in Toronto art and highlights 100 works by 65 artists from the AGO permanent collection. The show then changes in January to completely new work. Artists in the show you should know include Michael Snow, General Idea, Rebecca Belmore, Joanne Tod, Robert Houle. (Admission not included)

Trip #3: Tues. Oct. 11, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #4: Sat. Oct 15, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


U of T Museum: Contemporary Toronto Art PART 2

Museum at the University of Toronto: Form Follows Fiction

This show is curated by internationally known contemporary artist Luis Jacob. The focus is on how artists visualize Toronto and exist in this city over a time span of 50 years. The artists are grouped around themes that according to the curator repeatedly appear in Toronto art. The themes are mapping, modelling, performing and congregating. There are 86 artists in the show including people you should learn about such as Suzy Lake, Kim Adams, Carl Beam, Greg Curnoe, General Idea, Lisa Steele, Joyce Wieland and Michael Snow among others. (Admission is FREE)

This WEEK!

Trip #5: Tues. Oct. 18, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #6: Sat. Oct. 22, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


World of Threads Festival 2016


World of Threads Festival 2016


2016 World of Threads Festival

International Festival of Contemporary Fibre & Textile Art

This is the exhibition I curate with my mother Dawne Rudman. This is my fourth festival and her seventh. It happens every two years and is a major exhibition of international fibre and textile art. This is a special behind the scenes curators tour. We’ll meet at Union Station in the morning and take the Go Train to Oakville then hop on the bus which goes directly to the gallery. Once there we’ll explore the three current shows with a one hour break in the middle. (Admission and GoBus tickets not included.)

The main gallery exhibition will be a show called "Cosmic Geometry". The first two images by Gwen Lowery and Heather McCali are from that show. The installation above is by Penelope Stewart and there's a whole show based around that. We'll also have solo exhibitions in all the halls. There's a show of really subtle works and a show of clothing and kimonos. (Admission is FREE. Transit not included)

Trip #7/#8: Fri. Nov. 4, (Full Day) (COMPLETED!)

Trip #9/#10: Sat. Nov. 5, (Full Day) (COMPLETED!)

Trip #11/#12: Sun. Nov. 6, (Full Day) (COMPLETED!)  

Logistics: We'll meet at Union Station at 9:40 am. We'll board the Go Train at 10:13 am. It takes around an hour. We'll then board a bus in Oakville that takes us directly to the gallery. We'll aim to get home around 6 pm or earlier. If it's easier for you to meet us in Oakville - rather than take the train that is an option.

Note if you'd like to attend the opening there will be a bus running from Toronto to Oakville on Saturday 29th and another one on the 30th. This will be the big event but doesn't include my tours. 


Mystical Landscapes Art Gallery of Ontario


Mystical Landscapes Art Gallery of Ontario


AGO: Mystical Landscapes PART 1 & PART 2

The Art Gallery of Ontario: Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more

This is THE major show this fall. You gotta do this one. I'm super excited. It's an AGO exhibition and will be moving on to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris after this. There will be works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Munch, Monet, Whistler, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Carr and O'Keefe. There are 90 paintings and 20 drawings coming from institutions around the world. It's curated by Katherine Lochnan who did "Turner, Whistler, Monet" and I've been hearing buzz about this show for years. Since this show will be massive I'm doing it as two parts. I like doing two parts because we can really go into depth and not feel like we are rushing around. (Admission not included)

AGO: Mystical Landscapes PART 1

Trip #13: Tues. Nov. 8, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #14: Wed. Nov. 9, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #15: Sat. Nov. 12, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


AGO: Mystical Landscapes PART 2

Trip #16: Tues. Nov. 15, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #17: Wed. Nov. 16, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #18: Sat. Nov. 19, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


Sheila Hicks Textile Museum of Canada


Textile Museum: Sheila Hicks

The Textile Museum of Canada: Sheila Hicks: Material Voices

American artist Sheila Hicks is one of the more significant contemporary artists working in fibre/textiles. This is a major retrospective show of 50 years of her career. A must see if you are into the fibre/textiles genre. The images above are grabbed from the internet, so the work won't be as big as this, but I'm sure there will be very interesting work. (Admission not included)

Trip #19: Tues. Nov. 22, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #20: Sat. Nov. 26, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Francis Alÿs Art Gallery of Ontario


AGO: Francis Alÿs

Art Gallery of Ontario: Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation


I LOVE this artist. The two images above are film stills. He's a Belgian artist who lives in Mexico City. The top image is a man running into a dust storm and the other one is from Reel-Unreel which is a film in the AGO's permanent collection. It follows two boys running through the streets of Kabul in Afghanistan as they unroll and roll up a film reel. It's hard to describe what's so fabulous about this, it's really something. This show is going to be great. Note: This tour is slightly longer to give us more time to watch the films. (Admission not included)

Trip #24: Sat. Dec. 10, 1:30 - 4:00 pm, (COMPLETED!)



Here's how to book...

Each trip is it’s own separate event. When you register you indicate which trips you want by using the numbers. There are a maximum of 12 people per trip. I require 4 people to run a trip.



Join Us This Spring!


Five-Pack Deal $129
(Save $10 off regular price)

Eight-Pack Deal $214
(Save $20 off regular price)

Individual Trips $28

If you want to buy a pack now and pick your trips later just let me know.


Plus Photocopy Fee: There is a 50 cent fee per trip.

I require a commitment at registration when you book your trips. You pay in advance for the season.



Gareth's Art Rocks!
100% Money Back Guarantee

I’m committed to offering you an inspiring and informative trip. If you aren’t happy I don’t want to take your money. If after any trip this fall you're not satisfied or don’t think this is right for you, I offer a 100% money back guarantee for your bookings. No problem. Just let me know via email. I'll send you an e-transfer right away. No strings attached. The only thing I ask is for you to let me know what didn’t work for you. Refunds are offered all the way until June. 1, 2017.


Refunds Policy

If I cancel a trip you booked onto then I'll give you a credit for a future trip. If you're unable to attend a trip you booked onto and cancel within 48 hours I will offer you a credit towards another trip. I do not offer refunds for trips that you book onto but are unable to attend. Please let me know in advance if you are not coming.


How to Pay

When you book I'll send you an invoice with your amount calculated. You can send me an online e-transfer or you could also pay by check or cash during your first trip. I can also take credit cards for payments over $100. Payment is reguired on your first trip.


Here's how to Join...

Send me an email:

Subject Line: Booking: Art World Untangled Season 4

What to include in the email:

Your Full Name 

Your Email

Your Cell Phone (So we can communicate if lost or separated on the day)

What Payment Method: e-transfer, cash or check on the first class. Or credit card if over $100.

Packages: Five-Pack, Eight-Pack or Individual Trips

Do you have a membership for any of the museums?

Which trips above are you registering to attend? Use the numbers designating each trip. Just send me a list like this... 3, 4, 6, 17, 19, etc.



  • Please check your personal calendar. This is an official booking.
  • If you are booking for multiple people please include their names and emails as well so I can communicate with them and send them the info for the trip.


What happens next?

I'll confirm your booking via email then send you an invoice with your individual amount calculated plus the photocopy fee.  I'll send you an email the week before your trip with the details about where to meet.


Do you have any questions?

Send me an email:



I'm looking forward to seeing you!


Please share these trips with anyone you know who might be interested.