When it comes to the work of Javier Cabada, it is not what he paints that truly matters, but how he paints it. The process of painting as a means of discovering the possibilities of the imagination is altogether more important than creating an immediately recognizable object. This is especially true of his abstracts where bold, vibrant color plays a vital role in establishing an effective composition. It is this ongoing seduction with color that brings Cabada’s paintings to life. When he embarks on a new painting, it is what is on his palette that comes before all else. He begins by laying down broad planes of paint with the palette knife. Thick passages of textural impasto paint handling grace the canvas in great sweeping gestures which are often followed by several layers of lighter, more subtle scumbling. This compositional foundation is then skillfully manipulated with smaller, more controlled marks until form emerges.
Many of Cabada’s abstractions bear a striking resemblance to improvised still life studies. Although he chooses not to impose any preconceived notions regarding subject matter and concept on his paintings, the line between representation and abstraction is frequently blurred. What begins as an exploration of color often evolves into the ambiguous suggestions of sculpted vessels resting among folds of drapery. The marks on the canvas are an inherent acknowledgement to the flatness of Abstract Expressionist painting while still alluding to elements of three dimensional space such as volume and weight. The forms present in the painting cannot quite be named, but they are rendered in a way which implies that they respond to light and shadow in a manner very similar to a physical object. The result is a merging of the physical and metaphysical to produce an image that is visually enticing.
Javier Cabada’s successful artistic career has spanned the course of many decades. Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1931, he has painted nearly every type of subject matter and experimented with a broad variety of materials since his first introduction to painting at the age of 17. Over the course of these many years he employed the use of many styles in the hopes of finding one that was best suited to him. Cabada compares this lifelong process to the methods of Pablo Picasso who continues to serve as a source of inspiration for him to this day. Picasso explored numerous styles of painting and evolved his work out of several distinctive movements until he finally came to what he was most renowned for. Cabada followed the same lead until his artistic investigations coalesced to form the work he is best known for today. Each artistic endeavor rests firmly on what came before it to produce a style that is mature and visually rich.
Javier Cabada has the honor of maintaining exclusive representation at Aaron Gallery and has been exhibited at many museums and galleries nationally and internationally. His paintings have been on view at Aaron Gallery for over 30 years and continue to be shown today. Cabada works and lives in the D.C. area and frequently enjoys paintings in front of visitors at Aaron Gallery.
Jennifer Woronow is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a B.F.A. in Illustration. She currently interns at Aaron Gallery while pursuing her own art.