Cosmic Curiosities

Contemplating Chati Coronel’s latest solo exhibition Celestial Data for Daydreaming

As the title for the show suggest, Chati Coronel considers the relationship between the the planetary realm, the mythological narratives to which they are connected and our processes for thinking about possible futures. Here, the emotional, the heavenly and the earthly collide, leaving audiences wrapped in awe of the natural world. Coronel reminds us through artistic expressions and reflection on curiosities to plug in to the circular energy and rhythmic connection present in the universe. The text unpacks the work present in the show and was written by Marga Ortigas.

Installation art courtesy of SILVERLENS

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

In the Beginning | A Fixed Point

It’s an age-old human impulse to look up at the sky and search for our place in the cosmos. In Celestial Data for Daydreaming, Chati Coronel applies her passion for the timeless study of the stars to a vigorous rumination on modern existence. Each piece in this series pertains to one of the seven planets of classical Greek astrology, the heavenly bodies which represented the gods and whose patterns of movement were believed to influence human affairs. As Coronel puts it, she is “bridging the gap between the ancient myths and affirmation of human capacity to create a future.”

In Saturn, named for the god of social order, embracing figures reflect the interdependent duality needed for balance and cosmic justice. While Venus – with her earthy corpulence and ethereal fragility – emanates the sacred integrity of universal love.

Apollo, the most powerful of all deities, is depicted as the Sun, the centre of the cosmos and the source of life. This was the only planned piece in the series, created to coincide with Christmas. The Season of Light. Apollo is Coronel’s profound response to living during a pandemic – as she puts it, while in darkness dwelling, create the sun.

Ultimately, the sacred luminaries depicted offer a treatise on time, as they chart the inexorable movement of light across the heavens.

Installation art courtesy of SILVERLENS

In Celestial Data for Daydreaming
Chati Coronel applies her passion for
the timeless study of the stars
to a vigorous rumination on modern existence.

Playlist | Going with the Flow

For thirty years, Coronel has endeavoured to capture the power of nature’s transience on canvas. In her singular style – which she refers to as “figurative spatialism” – she articulates a cohesive multiplicity of realities underpinned by an allegiance to the universal.

Known for layering her canvas, Coronel instinctively begins each piece by setting the atmosphere – she lays down a base colour or image which becomes the foundation for the anticipated work. Next, she adds any texts or ideas that may be playing in her mind. Then, she paints over that with figures or silhouettes, repeating the process five or six times until there is a rich, textured tapestry of concepts. Each stroke is like a musical note in a symphony, building on the others to be taken as a whole. And yet, each buried layer is also a testament to impermanence. Her canvases make sense at the end of their journeys. Like life.

Coronel believes that the universe is a song that resonates within, and throughout her creative process, she listens to music. Trained as an architect, Coronel works around a theme but trusts that the process of creation will lead her where it must. That thoughtful fluidity is the essence of her art. Her unique methodology can be likened to an exuberant dance with universal forces.

Re-moved | Returning to the Essential

Over a year ago, Coronel migrated to Canada with her family. Like the artist herself, the decision was a marriage of heart and mind – part structured consideration, and part impulse. The move shifted her colour palette which now reflects the softer light and varied textures of her new home. A stark contrast to Manila’s intense equatorial heat.

The relocation – and resulting displacement – also reinforced her quest to understand the universe and find answers to the questions that drive her work. Why are things as they are? How can they be improved? What is one’s place in this world?

Installation art courtesy of SILVERLENS

For thirty years, Coronel has endeavoured to
capture the power of nature’s transience on canvas.
In her singular style – which she refers to as “figurative spatialism” –
she articulates a cohesive multiplicity of realities
underpinned by an allegiance to the universal.

New Cycle | Always an Outsider

Subverting the stereotype of the tortured artist, Coronel can only paint when she is happy. And she admits to fortuitously never suffering from artist’s block. Naturally introspective, being required to stay indoors during the pandemic actually encouraged her to look outward. To contemplate that which unified individuals despite enforced isolation. Again, a thoughtful return to the essential forces. As she pondered, the sun rose. The night fell. The clock ticked. The Earth revolved, and no asteroids crashed into its orbit. Life went on. It was mundane, but more importantly – Coronel said – “miraculous and magical”.

“It made me feel at once big and small,” the artist expounded. “You are connected to something much, much larger. For me, that is hopeful.”

After | Hope

This is what Chati Coronel aims to remind the world as it comes out of lockdown: that there is a rhythm, a balance to the everyday. A sense in chaos, a peace in noise, though initially obscured. That despite the darkness, the essence of life remains unchanged – and the greatest force of all still shines above and lies within.

Portrait of Chati Coronel.
Image courtesy of SILVERLENS

About the artist

After receiving her degree in Architecture from The University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines in 1991, Chati Coronel deviated from that path and built in its stead a painting practice that has now spanned 3 decades. Coronel has found her artistic voice in a process she calls, Figurative Spatialism in which she paints layers of abstract movement and contains them in a color space that forms the silhouette of a human figure.

Influenced by the principles of Philosopher, Rudolf Steiner and Architect, Louis Khan, Coronel explores a subject by understanding its beginning and then engages it in a futuristic form of myth making through her art. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and art fairs in Los Angeles, Manila, Florence, Singapore and most recently, Art Basel Hong Kong. Chati Coronel is based in Toronto and is represented by Silverlens Galleries.

Top: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum
res uaeperumqui officiet earum res
Bottom: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet
earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

CREDITS

Images courtesy of SILVERLENS.

Click here to view the exhibition.

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