Pauline Aitken was born in Bedford. She studied at the Slade School of Art (1962–64), winning the Slade Etching Prize in 1965. She has exhibited in group shows including Young Contemporaries (Royal Academy, 1964) and the Bradford International Print Biennale (1968–69). Her first solo show was held at the Curwen Gallery in London in 1966.
Based in Suffolk, Aitken exhibits her work regularly at Jill Bishop Contemporary Art in Halesworth. Her work focuses on forms and ideas based upon botanical and zoological processes. During 2002–2003, she undertook a research residency at the University of Cambridge, where she produced prints based on the study of plant tissue. More recently, also at the University, she has worked in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience on 'Cardio-Active', a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, that explores the form and function of the human heart, in context also with the foxglove plant that has been used since the 18th century for the treatment of some heart conditions.
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