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” Cabada is a central figure in our art community here in Santa Barbara, and his is a story and an oeuvre that we should all both know and celebrate.”

-Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent


“Rafael Perea de la Cabada is the kind of artist the contemporary [art] world is no longer supposed to be able to produce, much less sustain.  Broad-minded, well-read, well-versed in and deeply respectful of the cultures he inhabits and those that intrigue him, Perea is ferociously devoted to the task—not just the role, but the responsibility—of giving form to his sensibility through the making of art.”

-Peter Frank, Los Angeles Art Critic


“To visit perea’s work is to enter a generative, mysterious landscape of intellectual and numinous complexity. A self-described visual poet, he embraces the act of creating art as a spiritual pursuit. Endowed with psychological vitality and emotional maturity, Perea mines myriad depths. Culture, religion, and language pass through the gauze of his soul. The world’s cacophony is distilled, transfigured into imagery and a chorus of whispering voices…  Perea’s practice is an eclectic dialogue of mixed mediums and metaphors. Yet there is a powerful consistency within the diversity of his conversation, uniting his work with purpose and meaning.”

-Marina Walker, Santa Barbara News-Press, Scene Magazine


“Nothing is, or will ever be, more real that the integrity in Perea’s artwork. For him, hope and life remains continuous throughout time.  And once more, through Rafael Perea de la Cabada, we can believe in a time when art had the power to make the world new again.”

-Rita Ferri, Curator of Collections, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission


“Rafael Perea de la Cabada is intensely serious and contemplative, and layered meanings slowly emerge from the surface treatments and complex textures that comprise his visual language.  Whether in Germany, Croatia, or California, people will view these captivating compositions through their own perceptions and life experiences.  Concepts of revelation and concealment are essential to Perea’s sensibility, and with these collage and paintings of ambiguous,abstract shapes and lines, he expands our poetic sense of the world.”

-Nancy Clare Caponi, The Santa Barbara Independent


“The meticulous, unpredictable paintings he incubates have the sentient, gentle urgency of an alchemist, a poet and a spiritual pilgrim proud of his heritage, silently mediating on human purpose and the cause of mystery. His work is the quest for the ordering principles of life, searching of the fathomless constellations within for a way to reveal the integrity of being.”

–Marina Walker, Santa Barbara Magazine


“He speaks with the same thoughtfulness and intelligence embodied in his artwork, choosing his words carefully from a vibrant, eloquent palette.”

–Kim O’Brien, Food & Home Magazine


“Rafael’s show [CAF Drawing Room] is the best I have seen in the United States.”

-Barry Berkus, Architect and Art Collector, interviewed in Casa Magazine


“Rafael Perea de la Cabada has gained recognition for an evocative and lyrical abstraction that is highly tactile in its use of disparate materials.”

–Diana Dupont, Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Art


“The paintings of Rafael Perea de la Cabada seem to connect us to a source of power, a source at the same time antique and modern.  There is also a mystery to these paintings. The surfaces appear to be sanded, scraped and worn away in places. This has been done not to make the painting look older, but to reveal its very essence.  Just as a person becomes who they are through all the things that have happened to them, so it is with these paintings…These are all reasons why this unique artist deserves our attention.”

-Paul Froemming, The Montecito Journal


“There is nothing raw, impulsive, blunt, or hurried here. These images are infinitely refined, complex, subtle, cultivated and mysterious. Their delicate iconography results from prolonged meditation and carefully calibrated modulations of form and texture. Richly nuanced layers of color provide backgrounds for enigmatic apparitions that hover over the surfaces of these paintings. Informed by archetypal Jungian ideas, by a thorough familiarity with art history ranging from cave paintings and pictographs to tribal effigies, contemporary lyrical abstraction and symbolic figuration, they reveal rather than proclaim or inform; they are evocative embodiments of a poetic spirit whose delicate sensibility shines with faith in the power and importance of aesthetic expression.”


-Josine Ianco Starrels, Independent Curator, Los Angeles

“De la Cabada is a familiar force in town, having shown at Contemporary Arts Forum and the Museum of Art, among other venues, usually exploring unique byways of the zone separating realism and conceptualism.  One small work on a tattered-edged piece of canvas is pressed between glass and marked with ambiguous but delicately shaded images.  We’re not sure if we should view it as image or sculptural object, and the confusion becomes it.”


-Josef Woodard, for Santa Barbara News-Press, Scene Magazine

“…a legless, paint-covered chair in Rafael’s studio bears the words ‘People are more important than art.’… He only hopes to help us remember the delicate processes of art and of life, in a pure and uncensored form.”

-Alissa J. Anderson, The Santa Barbara Independent

“Walking Through this mix of fragile order and friendly anarchy one senses a palpable creative energy and sense of curiosity. Cabada employs a personalized, easygoing conceptualism, but never uses it as an end –all. His art is appealing and perplexing, in about the right balance”.

-Josef Woodard, for Santa Barbara News-Press, Scene Magazine