Chati Coronel’s Inner Constellations: A Crossroad from darkness to light

March 5, 2022



Daniel Lampa

Chati Coronel certainly never thought she’d become a full-time artist, regardless of being exposed to art at such an early age. Van Goh’s Sunflowers painting has helped her define a style that has rejuvenated the country’s narrative to art and championed her unique vocabulary as a painter.

She has exhibited her work in Manila, Los Angeles, Florence, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Currently, the artist lives in Toronto, Canada, exploring different subjects – fairy tales, Buddhism, poetry, and the divine nature of creating artistic, multi-layered paintings with raw strokes, harsh lines, and soft colors.

Her latest exhibition, Inner Constellations, was born out of a longing for change. Chati’s works have an average of 5-7 layers of paint. Each layer is a piece of her way to let go of precious ideas resulting in stream-of-consciousness-like visual storytelling. But for this endeavor, she wanted to do it in a more significant way. She says, “I needed a whole change of thinking. It wasn’t just about creating transitions within a painting. Each painting marks a stage, a point of departure to the next. The motion of change happens in the space between the paintings. Just like music happens in the space between the notes.”

There is an art therapy exercise that Chati does when she’s about to go through a significant change in her life. This process involves producing nine watercolor paintings that show nine scenes from sunset to sunrise. She starts with one illustration showing a 5:30 pm scene, then a 7:30 pm scene, and so forth until she finishes the 9:30 am painting. It is meant to steer one’s consciousness through an incremental change from darkness to light. 

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Creating these 9 Inner Constellation paintings was the esteemed artist’s process of becoming. She says, “It was a way to guide my consciousness forward, appreciating each stage of evolution I was at the moment distilling the gifts of each stage of change into a painting. I designed my process of painting the 9 Inner Constellation paintings to coincide with Christmas time. This time of the year is about going toward the darkness and into the light as the Earth makes its way farther and farther from the Sun toward the winter solstice—the point when the Earth is farthest from the Sun— through to December 24th, when the Earth starts its journey back toward the light.”

An essential perception Chati got from Inner Constellations is that darkness and light are not opposites. They are degrees of the same thing. She notes, “I was amazed (but not surprised) to find some beautiful light in the process of creating the darkest parts of the night. At the same time, it was a great relief to get to a new kind of light by the 7th, 8th, and 9th painting— in the same way that the inhale must become an exhale at some point. I knew that it wasn’t so much about arriving at a resolution. It was just about enjoying each aspect of evolution.”

“Inner Constellations” is on view until March 10, 2022, at Silverlens Galleries, Chino Roces Ext., Makati.

Notes about the Contributor

Daniel Lampa

Art enthusiast and into Fashion, French Culture, Mid-century modern design and spends a lot of his time curating his home in Manila and LA. He lives with his 3 dogs, Coco, Yohji and Junya.

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