Sidebar: Bodies @ Work: The Art of Ruben and Isabel Toledo

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

"It's like dancing together," Ruben said. "And sometimes you step on each other's toes."

Isabel, a fashion designer, and Ruben, an artist, designer and illustrator, bring together not only their individual aesthetics, but their combined vision and energy for this installation, created specifically for the Geraldine Schottenstein Gallery in the CMA's new Margaret M. Walter Wing. The pair often offers insight into each other's individual work, but has rarely created full-scale work as a team.

"We've been married for over 30 years. Sometimes you realize you never get to a finished place and you just let it be. Everything is a work in progress," Ruben said.

The nature of their work and the way each goes about it creates an interesting dialogue both with the other's work and with the space itself, highlighted by the north-facing wall of windows, which the artists used to offer a first glimpse into the installation.

Ruben, Isabel said, is about process, while Ruben offered that Isabel is about the end result. Isabel's perfectionism is a necessary by-product of working in fashion. "It's about longevity," she said.

Ruben "is very much about his heart and his hands," she added. "He needs to get the image out."

"The whole exhibition is a weaving together of our thinking," Isabel said.

"It's a cross-pollination of different crafts, different mediums, different aesthetics," Ruben added.

The installation features Isabel's innovative designs, melding form and structure with functionality, in tandem with Ruben's large-scale paintings and fiber art (some made from patterns used for Isabel's designs). "Bodies @ Work" also includes two 25-foot-long tables, offering an intimate representation of the process of each of the two artists.

"It's like two parallel paths that balance each other," Isabel said.

Columbus Museum

of Art

Oct. 8-June 18, 2017

480 E. Broad St.,