Virginia Colwell’s work examines the space between official and unofficial histories and the poetic ambiguities of truth and fiction in historical narratives. Often she begins her artworks with stories found in her deceased father’s FBI archive, which contains materials that he collected during his career as an agent. Her drawings, sculptures, and videos reinvestigate various cases in the archive through site visits, interviews, archival research, and declassified documents.


Colwell has lived and worked in Mexico City since 2011.  Her artistic research focuses on the American South, the Caribbean, and Mexico.  She has been an artist in residence with Beta-Local’s La Prática program in Puerto Rico, Untitled art fair’s Fountainhead Residency program in Miami, and the multimedia art center Hangar in Barcelona, Spain.  Her works have been exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art in Lithuania, the Hirschorn Museum in the United States,  El Centro de Arte Santa Monica in Barcelona and most recently, at the Centro Cultural Félix Varela during the 12th Havana Biennial.  Colwell has received numerous awards including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Award, a Pollock Krasner Foundation Fellowship, and a Jumex Foundation Grant.  She is currently a faculty member of the SOMA graduate program in Mexico City.