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RAFAEL PEREA DE LA CABADA - Artists - Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara's Finest Art Gallery

DiaRan Series I, 2015

7 x 5 inches  |  Mixed media on canvas

Rafael Perea de la Cabada was born into a large family in Mexico City. He pursued a serious education at the National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking in Mexico City before immigrating to the U.S. in 1987 to earn his M.F.A. at U.C. Santa Barbara. From his earliest days, Rafael seems to have been interested in Process Art – a mid to late 1960s concept of art that prizes "issues attendant to the body, random occurrences, improvisation, and the liberating qualities of nontraditional materials." [Guggenheim Museum quotation of Robert Morris essay from 1968.] From his intuitive and iterative drawing process, Rafael often arrives at forms that seem redolent of European and Latin American Surrealists and surface textures that contain enough layers to warrant excavation. Moving from one idea to the next and one medium to the next, Rafael will often create a fairly substantial amount of work to arrive at one or more works at the end that synthesize each idea or step.

For Perea's 2012 Alien Heartland exhibition catalog from the Westmont Ridley Tree Museum of Art, curator/critic Peter Frank writes, "Perea de la Cabada may be a product of thee powerful figurative tradition in his native Mexico; but, via the more subtle but equally pervasive Mexican tradition of abstracting stylization, a tradition associated with such painters as Rufino Tamayo, Carlos Merida and Gunther Gerzso, Perea de la Cabada has been able to evolve to a more conceptual visual language, one dependent on line and ideograph, one in which... visual and conceptual play emerge from what seems to be a process of notation and reflection." Later, Frank writes more simply, "His thinking does not happen before, alongside, or instead of his artistic fabrication; it happens as his fabrication."

While particularly well known for his drawing – which he has taught at Santa Barbara City College and at other institutions – Rafael has worked in a very wide variety of media: from stained glass, to found object and wood sculptures, muralism, mosaic design, painting, and ceramic sculpture. Many of his works mix these mediums.

Perea has long shown internationally and has developed an international collector base as a result. Today, he lives and works in Ventura, CA, but maintains extensive ties to the art world here in Santa Barbara and abroad.


5:45  |  Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer  |  Released for SYSTEM DISRUPTION, 2020

4:36  |  Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer  |  Released for THE ART OF SANTA BARBARA: 1875-2016, 2016

4:04  |  Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer  |  Released for JUST BETWEEN US: Wesley Anderegg, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Maria Rendón

5:30  |  Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer  |  Released for AN EVEN DOZEN, 2013

More Information


1987-1989  M.F.A., University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
1980-1985  National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking, La Esmeralda, Mexico City, Mexico


2019  Rafael Perea de la Cabada,  Focus on the Masters' 2019 Documented Artist, FOTM, Focus on the Masters, Archive & Library, Ventura, CA 
2011  47th Annual Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards, Hugh Petersen Award for Art in Public Places, West Beach Pedestrian Improvement Project.
 Richard Irvine & Rafael Perea de la Cabada (IrvineCabada ArtDesign) Santa Barbara, California
2009-2010  West Beach Pedestrian Improvement Project, Public Art Commission.
2007  Grant William T. Colville Foundation
2007  Nominated for the Second Annual Eduardo Carrillo Prize in Painting from The San Jose Museum of Art and Museo Eduardo Carrillo. San Jose, California
2007  Santa Barbara Child and Family Service Building Project, Public Art Commission.    
Richard Irvine & Rafael Perea de la Cabada, (IrvineCabada ArtDesign) Santa Barbara, California
2006-2007  Community Events & Festivals Grant Program, Espacio Central/Central Space, site specific Installations for Off-Axis Contemporary Arts Festival, Santa Barbara, CA
2002  Grant Program, Westmont College, Calvin Institute and Lilly Endowment Inc., Grand Rapids, MI2001-2002  Community Arts Grant Program, Public art element for North Milpas Street, City of Santa Barbara, CA
1998  Artist in Residence Program, Santa Barbara Foundation/ Irvine Foundation and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1991  IAP Visual Art Painting Award, Santa Barbara County Art Commission and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund, Santa Barbara, California
1986  National Youth Award (Painting) and Mention of Excellence (Maestro Jesus Reyes Heroles), CREA, SEP, Mexico City, Mexico
1985  Honorable Mention, National Salon of Fine Arts, Biennial Selection of Printmaking, National Auditorium Gallery, INBA, Mexico City, Mexico


Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, California
Art, Design & Architecture Museum at U.C. Santa Barbara
Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia
Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico



2019-20  Aguipiente y Serguila/ Mexico para Armar, Galeria del Tiempo UAM, UAM Iztapalapa, UAM Xochimilco, UAM Azcapotzalco, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico
2018  Birds on a Wire/Pajaros en el Alambre, Vita Art Center, Ventura, CA
2017  Los Amorosos, Tool Room Gallery @ Bell Arts Factory Ventura, CA
2016  Nueva Mexicanidad / un Mexico Para Armar, FesAcatlan UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico   
2014  Rafael Perea de la Cabada, The Impossibility of Logic, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA
2013  Kunst (Art) and Film: Up to Date Art Exhibition; International Contemporary Art:
 RAFAEL PEREA DE LA CABADA, Korschenbroich–Liedberg, Germany
2012  Alien Heartland, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
2012  VitrumGloss, The Project Fine Art Zone, Santa Barbra, California
2011  Spaces We Touch/Espacios Que Tocamos, Architectural Foundation Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2011  Surface and Silence, Jacobs Gallery, Eugene, OR
2008  Faces & Facets, Recent Work: Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Perspectives Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2008  State of the Art Gallery 2008 Exhibition, Public Art Installation in collaboration with artist Matthew Woodford, Santa Barbara, CA
2008  Thank You for Calling: Personal Notations and Drawings, Art Resources, Santa Barbara, CA
2007  Recent Work, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Studio Three East, Santa Barbara, CA
2007  Drawings, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Puccinelli Gallery at Gutenberg College, Eugene, OR
2007  Obra Reciente, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, The Loft Galeria, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
2006  State of the Art Gallery 2006, Sculpture, Santa Barbara, CA
2005  Accessibility 2005 “Transplanted” Latino Artists in the USA, 7th Annual Exhibition of Installation Art, Sumter, SC
2004  The Drawing Room: A Visual Dialogue, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
2000  Las Batallas Contra El Olvido, Museum Casa de la Guerra, Santa Barbara, CA
1999  Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Recent Works, KAZU, Up to Date Art and Performance Space, Pacific Grove, CA
1999  The Drawing Room, KAZU, Up to Date Art and Performance Space, Pacific Grove, CA
1998  Works on Paper, Galerie Kayaman, Dusseldorf, Germany
1998  U opasnosti prostora, HDLU Poikat Doma, Zagreb, Croatia
1998  Endangered Spaces, Manne Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1994  La Logica de lo Invisible, Ro Snell Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1993  Solace of Trees, Installation/Dance/Poetry Performance, Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara, CA
1992  IAP Visual Art Painting Award, Channing Peake Gallery, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and County Arts Fund, Santa Barbara, CA
1992  Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Mexican-Japanese Cultural Center, Mexico City, Mexico
1992  Private Mythology, Agora Cultural Center, State of Mexico, Mexico
1991  Intelligent Intuition, Frances Puccinelli Gallery, Carpinteria, CA
1990  Paintings - Works on Paper, Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
1986  Paintings, Prints and Mixed Medium, Carrillo Gil Art Museum, INBA, Mexico City, Mexico
1984  Configurations, Jose Clemente Orozco Gallery, INBA, Mexico City, Mexico
1982  Rafael Perea de la Cabada, General Offices of Bachilleres School, Mexico City, Mexico
1992  The Internal Art, Museum Gallery of Tlatilco, Naucalpan, State of Mexico, Mexico
1981  Allegory of the Fine Arts (Mural), Bachilleres School, State of Mexico, Mexico

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