Julia Policastro & Emilia Brintnall
In response to the global crises we've endured during the past several years, Commonweal is excited to host two artists whose works invite us to take temporary refuge in the unreal. Policastro and Brintnall both employ fantastical settings and creatures to create surreal environments that focus on the power of the unconscious and dream imagery. Discovering meaning in their alternative worlds can guide us to realign our discomfort and reconnect with what is essential and meaningful in a new way, forming a novel path forward.
Julia Policastro (b. 1992) was born in Philadelphia and received her B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art in 2015. Policastro creates intimate jewel-like paintings housed in artist’s frames which act as portals into invented scenarios and sceneries. She takes a “directorial approach” and her elaborately detailed meditations on architecture and environment are often cinematic in their energy. After attending Tyler School of Art she has worked as a studio assistant to renowned printmaker Thom Lessner, sculptor Alexis Granwell and painter, Karen Kilimnick, whose works are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Over the past five years she has exhibited her work throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Emilia Brintnall's (b. 1988) artworks in cold-painted terracotta and cut-paper function as gateways into a fantasy world that exists between what she encounters in daily life and her imagination. Like daydreams that have burst into the real world fully formed, Brintnall employs bold blocks of color to produce objects and images whose reductive simplicity imbues her works with a sense of both visual sophistication and charm. The imagery she develops occupies a conceptual gap between childlike candor and hermetic practices, providing a subversive subtlety to her works.
Brintnall has been a resident of Philadelphia all her life. Raised in Philly, she spent most of her childhood summers in her mother's home of origin, Chile. Surrounded by a family of artists, Brintnall was encouraged to be creative. From an early age, she made artwork about mythological creatures and animals, often inspired by real animals in her life, like her abuela's tortoise that has been present for generations of family and continues to live with family members today. Her sculptural work encompasses everyday objects, animals, and plants that are lumpy, seemingly playful versions of their real-world selves that often lose their boundaries and become fantasy hybrids. She is a past member of Space 1026 and Second State Press, a former apprentice of The Fabric Workshop Museum, a member of DFW, a member of the performance/dance group Body Dreamz, and recently joined The Pottery Gym ceramics studio in Philadelphia.
Brintnall has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at Salon 94 Bowery (NYC), Fortmakers (NYC), SHE Gallery (NYC), Marvin Gardens (NYC), ENORME Gallery (NYC), Primary (Miami), Scooters For Peace (Tokyo, Japan) Galeria Umo (Mexico), Lump Gallery (Raleigh, NC), Slow Culture (LA), Fleisher Ollman (Philly), and The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philly).