Penance and Devotion

October 2, 2008

By Mike Landry
Gareth Bate, Penance Performance, Queen St. W. Toronto. Photo Carolyn Dinsmore.

Gareth Bate, Penance Performance, Queen St. W. Toronto. Photo Carolyn Dinsmore.

One fifth of a kilometer never seemed so long for Toronto artist Gareth Bate as it did last November. Crawling on his belly from Soho Street to Spadina Avenue with a mat of field grass on his back, Bate spent two hours worming with his face an inch from the sidewalk.

But it wasn’t the crawling forward that forced him to stop—it was crawling backwards to Soho Street.

“Making Penance was such a surprise it was neat to explore some totally different thing than what I had done before,” says Bate. “You realize you’re not one thing. There’s this whole other aspect.”

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