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Department of Art

College of Arts & Sciences

Leah Hardy

Professor, Metalsmithing, Foundations

B.F.A., University of Kansas, 1987.
M.F.A., University of Indiana, Bloomington, 1990. • VA 228

Leah Hardy completed a BFA (1987) at the University of Kansas, including a year abroad at Howard Gardens Art School in Cardiff, Wales, UK and an MFA (1990) at the University of Indiana, Bloomington.  She has taught at UW since 2001 and established the Metalsmithing Program in 2009. 

Hardy exhibits her intimately scaled mixed media sculptural works avidly nationally and internationally.  More recent exhibitions include:  specimina, solo exhibition at Hinterland Art Space, Denver, 2014; specimen: upon closer inspection, solo exhibition at Gray Street Workshop, Adelaide, South Australia, 2014; Sacred + Secular:  Visual Poety at the Intersection, solo exhibition at the South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, 2013-14; and Relationships:  Mark Ritchie and Leah Hardy, two-person exhibition at SSVAD/Shantiniketan Society of Visual Arts and Design Gallery, Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India, 2013.  Her work has won numerous awards and has been featured in books and articles.  A passion for travel and researching metalsmithing techniques in other cultures has resulted in co-teaching a UW Art course every other summer in North or South India since 2005. 

Much of Hardy’s conceptual and aesthetic impetus for her artwork has been derived from interest in ritual objects, shrines and talismans—the intersection of the sacred and the secular.  Personal iconography often includes parts of the body and flora presented in a contemplative manner. Her newest work has been focused on insect-inspired forms, which become metaphors for the present human condition and also serve as an ethical inquiry into the scientific ability to genetically modify our food, alter our bodies and prolong life.  Fragmented, altered with mechanical elements or re-contextualized, these life forms are formally preserved to reference our fascination with mortality and desire. The intended effect is for the pieces to be specimens—beautiful, yet at times, disturbing. 

More of Hardy’s work may be viewed at


effortEffort in Understanding

harmed(h)armed race

loveletterlove letter, en route

vitaVita Mutatio / Life Altered








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