Gwen Hardie was born in Fife and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. She left Scotland in 1984 after winning a scholarship to study in West Berlin, where for a time she was taught by the German painter Georg Baselitz. He encouraged her to change from a studied, precise depiction of the human figure to a more liberated, dynamic representation. As a result, Hardie produced a series of works based on elements of her own body. Hardie is concerned with the landscape of the body, showing it close up but on a large scale, making her paintings both intimate and revelatory.