March 15, 2000 - October 8, 2000

Broadbent, Palmer, and Mull Galleries | Anne Bissonnette, Curator

Enter Isabel and Ruben Toledo's world and find two highly talented individuals working in synergy. Muse to her husband's sculpture, painting and illustration, Isabel Toledo conceives of shapes and structures to clothe the human body. Complementarily, Ruben Toledo's surreal view of life brings humor and unconventionality to her industrial world.

Born in Cuba one year apart from each other, Isabel and Ruben met while attending high school in New Jersey. They married soon afterwards, and entered the New York fashion world almost immediately. Strongly anchored in Cuban culture yet highly individualistic, both approach their craft with passion. From her American upbringing, Isabel gained an appreciation of machinery, practicality and comfort while retaining a love for traditional elegance. Ruben's irrational, instinctive approach to art fused with American popular culture, exploding in playful, incisive and intensely surreal observations on fashion, beauty and life.

After decades of mutually inspired creative endeavor, the couple refuses to be categorized or assimilated by the establishment. An idiosyncratic figure in the American and European fashion world, Isabel stopped presenting bi-annual collections in 1998 after twelve years of intense production. Today she creates at her own pace, testing the results until they meet her standards of excellence, and furthering her investigations into concepts close to her heart. Effortless at first glance, her garments are actually painstakingly engineered to be fluid and comfortable and to feel familiar. Even the elaborate spinning helixes, suspended shapes and geometrical constructions are anchored with both pragmatism and poetry. A multi-faceted artist, Ruben Toledo is the master of several media. His best-known work delights in the absurdity, audacity and charisma of the fashion world. Unlike many illustrators, he adds wit and perspective to the representation of the human figure.

Entwined in the same universe but respecting their separate talents, Isabel and Ruben Toledo draw sustenance from each other's abilities, strengths and esthetic beliefs. Freedom of thought is their common ground.