Chati Coronel’s Hour In A Glass Balloon

I had not realized how much I missed seeing an exhibit of just paintings until I dropped by SLab this week for their trio of

Chati Coronel, "Hula Hooped Bubble Gum Moon", acrylic on canvas, 5ftx4ft

openings.  At the moment, all the other shows worth visiting in Manila feature sculpture, installations, a variety of media except paintings on canvas.  I’m not complaining.  But sometimes, you do enjoy simply engaging your sense of sight, viewing a show with nothing too cerebral, just pieces that make you feel good by merely looking at them.   In that respect, Chati Coronel’s An Hour In A Glass Balloon works perfectly.

Chati Coronel, "The Knitters", acrylic on canvas, diptych, 5x4.5ft per panel

Chati has just moved to Manila after seven years in LA.  This exhibit brings her back to the Manila art scene, where she used to be an active participant.  She has shown with Surrounded By Water, the seminal artist- run space of the late 1990s.  She also spent time in Vermont on a residency grant, before her long-term move to the States.  Now she brings out a suite of large-scale paintings (they stand at 5 and 6 feet tall)  inspired by the retro palette and patterns that fill her grandmother’s house, the family home

Chati Coronel, "A New Buddha Head", acrylic on canvas, 6x4 ft

she has returned to.

I don’t normally go for art that can be described as pretty.  But while you can say this about Chati’s paintings, you know they are also so much more.  Her brilliant colors exude  joy and ebullience, with dreamy, romantic titles (Hula Hooped Bubble Gum Moon, Turning Dakini). Her svelte and elongated females hint at the elegance of Mogdiliani’s women. They possess sophistication and a certain je ne sais quoi, nothing that feels contrived.  I especially liked Wedding Day, one of her two diptychs, with its barely discernible figures.  She painted them white, invisible amidst the patterns that swirl through her sky blue backdrop.

Chati Coronel with her acrylic on canvas diptych, "Wedding Day", 6x4ft per panel

It won’t take an hour to enjoy Chati’s glass balloon.  And even if you did spend more than that viewing the show, you’ll do so because her paintings are easy, uncomplicated, relaxing.

An Hour In A Glass Balloon runs from 1 to 29 September 2010 at SLab, 2F YMC Bldg, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.  Phone (632) 816-0044 or visit

Chati Coronel, "An Hour In A Glass Balloon" and "Turning Dakini", both acrylic on canvas, 6x4 ft each


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