Gareth Bate

Artwork | News | Curatorial | Inspirations | CV | Bio | Writing | Press | Teaching | Get Free Updates | Contact

Do you find looking

at art intimidating?


Rita Letendre, Lawren Harris, Georgia O'Keefe, Meryl McMaster, Georgia O'Keefe, Mark Lewis.


Art World Untangled


This Spring and Summer
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

Choose from 26 new tours.


Registration is OPEN!


Season 1-4 had 697 bookings.

Season 5 has 134 bookings so far!

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 and summer 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're 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.


Choose from 26 new art tours!

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


Francis Alÿs Art Gallery of Ontario


AGO: Georgia O'Keefe

Art Gallery of Ontario: Georgia O'Keefe

The AGO is the only North American stop for this retrospective exhibition organized by the Tate Modern in London. It's a full retrospective of iconic American modern artist Georgia O'Keefe. This is the major show of the season in Toronto so I'll be doing it in two parts. I highly encourage you to do both tours. 

In Part 1 we'll look at the big picture and the overall curatorial vision of the show. We'll see how her work evolved over time from New York architecture, to close ups of flowers, to landscapes of New Mexico and skulls hovering in the desert. The show also features the beautiful photographs of her by her husband Alfred Steiglitz and the landscape photography of Ansel Adams.

In Part 2 we'll zoom in to the famous and most compelling works and go into depth by looking closely at how they were painted and what she's trying to achieve in individual works. Georgia O'Keefe is stereotypically known for painting flowers that look like vulvas. I think it will be interesting to break her out of this stereotype and see what her full body of work amounts to. (Admission not included)

Part 1: Big Picture

Trip #1: Tues. Apr. 25, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

NEW Trip #2B: Sat. Apr. 29, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #3: Sat. Apr. 29, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Part 2: Zooming In

Trip #4: Tues. May 2, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #5: Wed. May 3, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #6: Sat. May 6, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Toronto Skyline


AGO: Mark Lewis

Art Gallery of Ontario: Mark Lewis: Canada

Mark Lewis is originally from Hamilton and now lives in the UK. He's a major film artist who represented Canada in the Venice Biennial in 2008. This show features three new films about Canada as part of the AGO's exploration of Canada's 150. Lewis is known for his dynamic use of the camera where it moves constantly and reveals unexpected things or changes your perspective of what's happening over time. They usually start with a vast landscape and then zoom in over time to reveal the details of a scene in close up. His films are subtle and fascinating. The three films on show explore the nature of Canada and what it means both as a landscape and how we live in it. It will be especially interesting to see familiar locations like the Don Valley and Scarborough Bluffs on film. (Admission not included)

Trip #8: Sat. May. 13, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


401 Richmond Street West


Gallery Hop: 401 Richmond

401 Richmond St. West

This early 20th century industrial tin lithography factory has been transformed into one of Toronto's central arts hubs with galleries, studios and offices for creative industries. It's beautifully restored and filled with amazing garden spaces. 401 Richmond is now the only place in Toronto where you can see a whole bunch of galleries together in the same space. It features several models of art gallery including commericial, themed, artist-run centre and co-op. We'll start with a trip to my studio and take you on a tour of the building. We'll explore some of the current contemporary shows at Abbozzo, A-Space, YYZ, Prefix Photo, Gallery 44, Red Head, Yumart, Open Studio, Tangled Art + Disability, Trinity Square Video and Urbanspace Gallery. (Admission is FREE!)

Trip #9: Wed. May. 17, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)

Trip #10: Sat. May 20, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (COMPLETED!)


Toronto Skyline


Toronto Skyline


The McMichael:
Harris Abstraction & Steve Driscoll

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection: Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries and Size Matters by Steve Driscoll and Finn O’Hara

For the first time we'll take a full day field trip to the McMichael. This counts as two trips. Being able to do this will depend on me being able to get some people to drive up there for each day if we have a full group. If you offer to drive you can pay for one trip instead of twip! Please let me know if you are able to drive people up. We'll decide on a downtown pickup spot near a subway station. The McMichael is always a wonderful experience and feels like another world.

We'll start by visiting the Lawren Harris Abstract exhibition where you'll see a whole other side of this iconic Canadian artist. This is the work I felt was missing from last year's huge Harris show. You'll see how his famous icebergs and mountains evolved into abstract spiritual paintings. In the afternoon we'll explore the work of Steve Driscoll a contemporary landscape painter who does massive colourful paintings caked in resin. He's collaborating with photographer Finn O'Hara who places his works in different settings. (Admission not included - Memberships to the Textile Museum gets you in for free)

FULL DAY TRIP (Counts as two trips)

Trip #13 & #14: Fri. June. 2, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, (9 Spots Available - One Car Confirmed)

Trip #15 & #16: Sun. June. 4, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, (8 Spots Available - Two Cars Confirmed - Confirmed Running!)


401 Richmond Street West


AGO: Group of Seven

Art Gallery of Ontario: Group of Seven in the Thomson Collection

In this class we'll focus on the amazing Ken Thompson collection. Can you distinguish the differences between Tom Thomson and each of The Group of Seven members? I'll train you to be able to tell who's who based on their style, subject matter and artistic interests. The best part of the Thomson collection is the emphasis on the group's original sketches done onsite across Canada. (Admission not included)

Trip #17: Tues. June 6, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (7 Spots Available - Confirmed Running)

Trip #18: Sat. June 10, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (6 Spots Available - Confirmed Running)


David Milne


AGO: David Milne

Art Gallery of Ontario: David Milne in the Thomson Collection

For the first time we'll explore the AGO's amazing David Milne collection. These hundreds of works were donated by Ken Thomson. Milne is largely overshadowed by The Group of Seven but he's considered one of Canada's greatest artists. He has a similar interest in Canadian landscape but his approach is much more modernist and abstract. The land fragments into simplified shapes and colours. (Admission not included)

Trip #19: Tues. June 13, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (10 Spots Available)

Trip #20: Sat. June 17, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (5 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)


Ydessa Hendeles


Power Plant: Ydessa Hendeles

The Power Plant: The Millener's Daughter: Ydessa Hendeles

This is the must see show of the summer. It's the first retrospective show of Ydessa Hendeles an internationally renowned curator from Toronto with a spectacular collection. For years she ran a gallery space where she curated remarkable exhibitions which were themselves like art installations. She called them "curatorial compositions". By collecting and arranging strange objects and artworks from around the world she assembled shows that blurred the lines between what an artist is and what a curator is. This is an exhibition that recreates some of her famous shows. The left hand image above is "From her wooden sleep..." a collection of artist's wooden maniquins arranged into a tableau. This will be a fascinating show. (Admission is FREE)

Trip #21: Tues. July 4, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (6 Spots Available - Confirmed Running)

Trip #22: Sat. July 8, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (Only 3 Spots Left - Confirmed Running)


AGO Every Now Then Reframing Nationhood


AGO: Reframing Nationhood

Art Gallery of Ontario: Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood

This show marks Canada's 150th Birthday with a major show of contemporary Canadian artists that aims to explore where Canada has been, where it is and where it's going. This promises to be a dynamic show with a lot of work you likely havn't seen before.

Curator Andew Hunter says: “At the heart of this exhibition is our fundamental belief that Canada is a dynamic work in progress... At this moment, many contemporary artists are reflecting on and challenging what Canada was, is and will be. Through a variety of visual media they are drawing attention to issues of absence, erasure and memory, and asking creatively, ‘How do we move forward as a country?’ Bringing these works together at this exact moment creates a meaningful opportunity for AGO visitors to hear the stories that haven’t been told, and to consider what it means to be Canadian in 2017." The work on the right is by Meryl McMaster and the one on the left is by Laura Millard. It's a drone photo of a drawing made using snow mobiles! (Admission not included)

Trip #23: Tues. July 11, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (6 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #24: Sat. July 15, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (11 Spots Available)


Toronto Skyline


AGO: Rita Letendre

Art Gallery of Ontario: Rita Letendre: Fire & Light

Rita Letendre is a major Canadian abstract painter who was born in Quebec and has lived in Toronto for 30 years. She was often the only women in shows by the Les Automatistes. This major retrospective, the first outside of Quebec features 40 large scale paintings. (Admission not included)

Trip #25: Tues. July 18, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, (5 Spots Available - Confirmed Running)

Trip #26: Sat. July 22, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (8 Spots Available - Confirmed Running)


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 5 people to run a trip.



Join Us This Spring and Summer!



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

Eight-Pack Deal: $209
(Save $15 off regular price)

Individual Trips: $28



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 spring or summer 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 Aug. 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 cheque or cash during your first trip. I can also take credit cards for payments over $100. Payment is required on your first trip.


Here's how to Join...

Send me an email:

Subject Line: Booking: Art World Untangled Season 5

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)

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.

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

Driving? Are you able to be a driver for a McMichael trip?

Do you have a membership for any of the museums?



  • Please check your personal calendar. This is an official booking.
  • If you're 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. Thanks!