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Martin Facey lives and works in the North San Diego area of Southern California and maintains a studio in the mid-city-Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. Raised and educated in Southern California, Martin Facey is a mid-career artist currently fascinated by botanical seed germination, a visual wonderland of microscopic processes such as heat, light, time, and humidity: all working in tandem to generate new life. The Seeds are new paintings and prints that mirror life formation itself. More in wonder than social criticism, Facey's new work calls attention to the fragility of life on Earth and to the undeniable interconnectedness of all life. (See: New Work: Excavation: Patterns in Time.)

Originally a film-making student at UCLA, Martin Facey was attracted to the art department by influential teachers such as Joyce Trieman, Bill Brice, Lee Mullican, Lynn Foulkes, and Richard Diebenkorn. Facey received two graduate degrees in painting from UCLA, and in the 1980's a sequence of one-person exhibits at Santa Monica's Tortue Gallery established his work as a critical and commercial success.

Both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts have awarded Facey's work with Single Artist Fellowships in Painting.

Martin Facey's paintings and drawings have been exhibited in many one-person and group exhibitions. His principle gallery affiliations have been with Jean Albano Contemporary Arts (Chicago), Tortue Gallery (Santa Monica), Ivory-Kimpton Gallery (San Francisco), Sena Galleries East and West (Santa Fe), Linda Durham Gallery (Santa Fe), and Jan Baum Gallery (Los Angeles).

Martin Facey has been an celebrated teacher of visual arts since 1980, first teaching at Santa Monica College and at UCLA where he was visiting faculty member from 1983-1985. In 1986 Facey joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico where his long teaching career was capped by a three-year stint as Department Chair from 2003-2006, a particularly successful period of renewal for this very large department of both art practices as well as art history.

Facey returned to his studio/home in Southern California in 2007 to resume a concentrated creative life.


2014 Paul Mahder Gallery, San Francisco

2012 "Pluck" L-Street Gallery, San Diego

2011 "Seed" Claremont Chamber of Commerce Gallery, Clarement, Ca.

2009 "New Seed" Ray Street Gallery, San Diego, Ca.

2007 "Botany Surrealism" Kruglak Gallery, Oceanside, Ca.

2006 "Fork: an Installation" University of New Mexico Art Museum

2005 "Cells: an Installation" Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico

2004 "Tree: an Installation' Sommers Gallery, University of New Mexico

1998 "The Maps" Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, Ca.

1997 "The Maps" Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, Ill.

  • "Parables of the Mask" University of New Mexico, Gallup Gallery

1996 "The Maps" Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, Ill.

1995 "The Maps" University of New Mexico, Fitzgerald Gallery

1994 "The Maps" Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, Ill.

  • "Parables of the Mask" Graham Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

1993 "Vessels" Marx Gallery in association with Jean Albano Gallery

1992 "Vessels of Light" Soma Gallery, San Diego, Ca.

1991 "Vessels of Light" Works Gallery, Long Beach, Ca.

  • "Vessels of Light" Jean Albano Gallery, Ca.

  • "Vessels of Light" Sena Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

1990 "Vessels" Sena Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

  • "Recent Work" Raw Space Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

  • "Vessels" Zimmerman-Saturn Gallery, Nashville, TN.

  • "Recent Work" Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, Ca.

1988 "Vessels" Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, Ca.

  • "Vessels" Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL.

1987 "Martin Facey" University of New Mexico Art Museum

  • "Dreams of Women" Ivory-Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.

1986 "Dreams" Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, Ca.

1985 "Martin Facey" Claremont Graduate School Gallery, Clarement, CA.

1984 "California" Ivory-Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

1983 "California" Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

  • "California' Ivory-Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

1982 "Callifornia" Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

1981 "California" Ivory-Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

1980 "Tables" Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

1979 "Five-Year Survey: Martin Facey" Barnsdall Gallery, Municipal Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

1978 "25 Works on Paper" Santa Monica Municipal Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

1974 "Master of Arts Exhibition" Frederick Wright Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.

Facey now works "in reverse." His explorations of the past decade have yielded inventive techniques that re-order the way a painting is constructed.

Unlike traditional artworks that start with 'ground' or background, then acquire ever-advancing "foreground" elements, concluding with the "final touches," Facey's sophisticated innovations flip that traditional order to "finish" first, and "background" last.

These alluvial paintings replicate the process of birth and life both in imagery as well as in studio practice, by embedding raw materials, leaves, bark, flowers, nails, wire, sewing patterns and lint, water and other earthy elements. Facey's paintings stay 'wet' for days, weeks, even months, never drying, always dynamic, never static. In that sense, water and time, themselves, become inquisitors.

"Water always knows what to do; water is a good collaborator, turning plant to peat, to coal, and finally to diamond. Excavation is about discovery--or perhaps 'recovery'-- a reminder of ancient wisdoms, long buried and now unearthed."

For one instance, Facey's seminal symbolic motif of his long career is the primal "Y" shape. Intended to evoke a myriad of associations such as a fork in the road, a primitive human figure, a divining rod, or any bifurcating botanical structure of trunk or branches, Facey's motif is both recognizably singular but suggestively plural. The "Y" shape conjures themes of self-replication, fractal systems, divination, choices, male and female, order and chaos, and ultimately the tree of life. We sense a subjective archaeology, travelling through time, disassociated yet discovering, with fleeting moments of earthly suspension and perhaps flickers of timeless truth.