May-ling Martinez was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives and works in San Diego, California. She holds an MFA degree from San Diego State University (2007) and BA in Communications and Visual Arts from San Juan’s Sacred Heart University (1996).

She has exhibited in numerous venues, including the California Center for the Arts, the La Jolla Athenaeum of Music and Arts Library, William D. Cannon Art Gallery Biennial, Everett Gee Jackson Gallery/SDSU, The Art Produce Gallery, UCSD, and Galería José Pepin Méndez, San Juan, PR among others. May-ling Martinez was the recipient of the 2007-2008 San Diego Art Prize in the Emerging Artist category, and was included in the “Here Not There” exhibition at the MCASD.


May-ling Martinez’s sculpture and works on paper serve as a metaphor for an innate desire to understand and control our surroundings under difficult circumstances. The works engage in the larger domain of relations—among ideas, objects, and the human heart—in order to gain a deeper insight into existential issues, such as the need for security and balance. Intrigued by human behavior and thought process, Martinez investigates the paradoxical idea of maintaining control and stability under chaos. At the same time, she explores the idea that reason and logic, as prescribed by science and engineering, can function as a solace to an unstable reality framed by the infallibility of perception and personal subjectivity.

Employing combinations of pre-fabricated objects and her own hand-made pieces, Martinez’s work fuses the personal and the social, the mundane and the mysterious. Their themes and messages are often communicated in subtle form, by turn endearing and seemingly innocuous or vulnerable and repressive—at times hinting at the macabre.

The new works have given way to increasingly sparse and technically-sophisticated engineered pieces. technical illustrations, tempered by the concreteness of logic and mechanical engineering.

(text by Luis de Jesus and May-ling Martinez)

From October 13-26, May-ling Martinez's container will be on view at Southwestern College from 10-5 Monday-Saturday. 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91910. Please check the campus map before visiting. The container will be place between the 750 building and the 900 building.

May-ling Martinez
May-ling Martinez