Penelope Aitken makes paintings and installations about relationships and the social, psychological and aesthetic motives behind organisation, belonging and displacement. Recent work looks at human interventions in nature and other work has been about friendship, genealogy and cross-cultural exchange as well as gardening, craft and landscape design.
Aitken has held regular solo exhibitions since 1995 and has been represented in group exhibitions since 1989 in public and commercial galleries, artist run spaces, outdoor projects and festivals in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Tokyo and Famagusta, Northern Cyprus.
Aitken has previously worked at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and at Asialink at the University of Melbourne. From 2006 - 2009 she was a board member of the Melbourne artist run gallery, West Space and she has also curated and coordinated numerous exhibitions and written and edited catalogues, articles and essays.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education (Visual Arts) both from The University of Melbourne and completed her Masters of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004.
In 1997 Aitken was selected to be a studio artist for two years at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne and in 2000 she undertook an Australia Council Studio at the Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. In 2007 she spent two months at the Nillumbik Laughing Waters Residency, at Birrarung, in Eltham, beginning an extensive focus on local landscapes and the ways in which these accommodate cultural alteration.
People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Women
First prize, Eltham Masterworks, 2011
Highly Commended, Nillumbik Art Prize, 2011
People's Choice Award, Nillumbik Art Prize, 2010
Laughing Waters Artist in Residence, Shire of Nillumbik, Victoria, 2007
Arts Victoria International Programs Grant, 2003
Australia Council Studio, National Institute of the Arts, Taipei, 2000
200 Gertrude Street Studio, Fitzroy, 1997- 1999
Arts Victoria Project Grant, 1996
Next Wave Festival Project Grant, 1996
MFA Victorian College of the Arts. Major: Painting
BA University of Melbourne. Majors: English & Fine Art"
B ed (Visual Arts) University of Melbourne Institute of Education. Major: Sculpture