Solo art exhibit of Amy Babinec

Ondrea Machin, Senior Reporter

Amy Babinec has a unique art style, which is inspired by lost memory, trauma and DIY archaeology. It offers quite a bit of variety and something for everyone, which can be seen at her ongoing art exhibit.

Originally from Belleville, IL, Babinec started her artistic journey by getting a bachelor’s degree in art. She then switched gears and majored in Russian language and literature, as well as majoring in art history. She worked in four different museums and received her master’s degree in art history and archaeology from the University of Maryland.

Kassidy Malcolm

“I discovered that I really enjoyed working in museums and working with art objects,” Babinec said.  

In a webinar artist talk, Babinec said some of her work deals with subsidence. Subsidence is the gradual sinking or caving of an area of land. She discovered this phenomenon through research.

Her research led her to exploring abandoned coal mines, and said she was “visually struck as an artist” by what she found. She said it was interesting how the Earth is holding mines up and keeping them from collapsing.

Kassidy Malcolm

Babinec’s art is also inspired by lost memory. She said she went back to places her family had lived and took pictures. She then painted over the things she didn’t remember. But she also added in things that she believed about her family members. She called it “filtering reality through paint in my memories.

“I’m interested in memory and how objects reveal memories … and I like how the conventions of archaeology, the rules of archaeology reveal something about my personal life,” Babinec said. 

Kassidy Malcolm

Babinec said she is fascinated by how people remember stuff in a particular place, such as how revisiting places can bring back memories that may have been forgotten. 

Something Babinec said she tries to capture in her work is what people can lose. An example she gave was a fragment of a cup, how it used to belong to someone and we will never know who that person was.

Kassidy Malcolm

Babinec said never knowing who that person was is what fascinates her about memory, as well as being able to remember what she lost in her life and sharing it with others.

Babinec is working on a new series of work that is based on ice and snow. She said she has painted ice and snow before, but she wants the paintings to have a crust-like texture.

Kassidy Malcolm

Through experimenting with different paints and pigments, Babinec said she found mixing poly acrylic, Guerra pigment and some ink works the best.  

Associate Professor of Art and Design Rachel Kirk invited Babinec to CWU to participate in an event after meeting Babinec at a conference two years ago.

Kassidy Malcolm

Kirk said Babinec’s art style is different from her own because it’s “pretty minimalist” and uses simplistic imagery. However, Kirk appreciates it for the efficiency and simplicity, and it makes you focus on the detail that is there.

“It’s simplistic imagery, but layered and layered textures so it makes me focus on the application of the paint and drawing material,” Kirk said.

The concept behind Babinec’s work is exploring abandoned coal mines and collecting and documenting the objects she finds, Kirk said.

Kassidy Malcolm

Kirk said Babinec’s art shows students the variety of style in contemporary art and how each artist interprets the style differently. Kirk also said Babinec’s process of going out, investigating and studying the world is something students can learn from and utilize in their own work.

CWU is hosting a solo art exhibit that features pieces from various series of Babinec’s work. The show runs from April 1 to April 24 in the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, open weekdays 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.