Professor Paul Coldwell is a practicing artist and researcher. His art practice includes prints, book works, sculptures, and installations. He has exhibited widely, and his work is included in numerous public collections, including Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), the British Museum, the Arts Council of England, and the Musee d’art et d’histoire, Geneva and MoMA (New York). He has been selected for numerous International Print Exhibitions including, the Ljubljana Print Biennial, the International Print Triennial Krakow, and the Northern Print Biennial. In 2013 the Universities of Canterbury and Greenwich presented a survey exhibition of his prints over two decades, A Layered Practice Graphic Work 1993-2012 and in the same year, he had a solo exhibition Re-Imagining Scott at the Scott Polar Research Institute , Cambridge which included prints, postcards, sculptures, and glassworks. in 2015 a solo exhibition, Material Things at Gallery II, the University of Bradford focused on the relationship between his sculptures and prints over a period of fifteen years.
Small Journeys (2016) was Coldwell’s first solo exhibition at Long & Ryle Gallery, London, followed by a solo exhibition at Gallery 25, Perth, Australia. In 2016-17 he presented new work at both the Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna, Setting Memory and the Freud Museum London, Temporarily Accessioned which was exhibited again at the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury in 2021. This work was the subject of a film by Susan Steinberg entitled The Hope (available on Youtube). In 2018 he was included in ReConciliations at the History Museum Sarajevo for which he made newly commissioned pieces shown alongside earlier work which imaged the siege of Sarajevo. His installation A Life Measured: Seven sweaters for Nermin Divović, was acquired for the museum’s permanent collection and was featured again in the exhibition Pazi Snajper in 2021. In 2018 he was commissioned by the Swiss Graphic Society to produce an edition of prints for their 100th Anniversary. In 2019, following a period of research supported by AHRC, he exhibited Picturing the Invisible at the Sir John Soane’s Museum and in 2019 was invited by the Estorick Collection, London to rehang their Morandi prints & drawings alongside his own work made in lockdown.
He has curated a number of exhibitions, including Digital Responses at the V&A, Morandi’s Legacy: Influences on British Art at the Estorick Collection, London, (accompanied by a book published by Philip Wilson) and The Artists Folio at Cartwright Hall, Bradford (2014). He published a major survey of print-making, Printmaking: A Contemporary Perspective (Black Dog Publishers) in 2010 and has been a regular contributor to a number of publications including, Art in Print, Printmaking Today, and Print Quarterly where he has been on the editorial board since 2009. Picturing the Invisible, co-edited with Professor Ruth Morgan, was published by UCL Press in 2022.
In 2011 he was chairman of the selection jury for the Imprint International Graphic Art Triennial in Warsaw, Poland, and one of the jurers for the Polish Print Triennial in 2018. He has been invited to speak at numerous conferences including as keynote speaker at Impact 7 International Printmaking Conference, Melbourne, Australia in 2011, SNAP3 in Germany in 2015, Art & Reconciliation in Sarajevo and in 2019 he was invited to visit the University of Indiana to present a McKinney Endowed Lecture and make new work in their print studios.
Over the last six years, he has conducted a series of public conversations at the University of the Arts London with prominent printmakers including Paula Rego, Christiane Baumgartner, Thomas Kilpper, Jim Dine, Christopher Le Brun, Sean Caulfield, and William Kentridge.
Coldwell’s research is focused on a practice-based approach and located within fine art. Through printmaking, sculpture, installation, film and writing, he explores issues around absence and loss, with ideas crossing between media. A recurring question for him is how new technologies impact on previous processes, in particular within printmaking; and how digital technologies can inform and rejuvenate older technologies, such as etching and screenprint? This fits into his broader commitment to printmaking, both as a practitioner but also through raising awareness of the value and quality of print over and beyond its role as a reproducible media.
Over a period of over two decades he has led on numerous research projects with funding from EU, Arts Council England and the Arts & Humanities Research Council. His most recent project Picturing the Invisible was with the support of an AHRC Network Grant, co-led with Professor Ruth Morgan (UCL) resulting in exhibitions, conference, research papers and a publication through UCL Press.