Ben Aitken

Ben profile pic 2017.jpg

Ben Aitken is an artist working in Melbourne across painting, tapestry and installation. He has upcoming shows at Alaska Projects, The Latrobe Art Institute and Sutton Projects. Ben also works collaboratively with artist Jon Cattapan and is featured in many public and private collections including the Buxton Collection. Numerous awards Ben has been involved in include the Archibald Prize, The Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship and the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize. 

Interested in the directness, clarity and literality of text-based abstraction, Ben’s work combines the traditions of post modernist painting, alternative literature and minimal installation to explore combinations of text, surface, colour and space. His work has been described as abstract expressionist and often references historical traditions of the human form fused with influences from modern American text based art. 

Aside from his artistic practice, Ben is also the founder and co-director of Nicholas Projects, a well-known Melbourne artist run project space that breaks down traditional gallery platforms. Ben has also amassed a collection of over 40 artworks from working artists and created the Nicholas Foundation. This initiative has seen these works donated and acquired by institutions such as Lismore Regional Gallery, the Monash Gallery of Art and Castlemaine Art Musuem. Ben has also been featured on numerous public speaking panels about politics in art including the Art Gallery of NSW and will be delivering an upcoming talk for the RMIT Lecture series: Writing and Concepts, presented by Jan Van Schaik.

 Image: 'Ben' 2015, by Robert Hague. Courtesy the National Portrait Gallery


Solo Exhibitions (selected)

 2016 ‘Alternative Literature is also like Alternative Literature’ Opened by Prof. Jon Cattapan of the VCA, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre

2015 ‘Sometimes I feel like killing my self(ies)’

Opened by critic Ashley Crawford, Essay by Sam Leach

Rubicon ARI

2014 ‘Holy Grin’, Gallerysmith Project Space


Group Shows (selected)

 2015 ‘DATA FLOW’

Guest online artist, Curated by Dr. Kent Wilson

Boroondara Council

Town Hall Gallery

2015 – Salon at Scott Livesey Galleries

2014 ‘Not Fair Art Fair’

Curated by Ashley Crawford and Sam Leach


Awards (selected)

 2016 R+M McGivern Prize for Text based painting (Finalist)

2016 Archibald Prize (Finalist)

2015 Brett Whitley Travelling Art Scholarship (Semi Finalist)

2015 Hurford Hardwood prize for Portraiture (Finalist)

2015 Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize (Painting) - Finalist

2014 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, WA – Highly Commended

2014 Biennial Howard Arkley Prize – By invitation



 The Buxton Collection

The Hon. Paul Guest QC OAM

Lismore Regional Gallery

Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre

Bruce Esplin AM, Chair Regional Arts Victoria

Numerous Private collections across Australia, London and the Phillipines