Artist May Shorten Townley

My art derives much of its inspiration from my own environment, which is, upon close inspection, a microcosm in itself. Birth and life, growth and change, followed by death and rebirth occur therein on a daily basis, and often occupy a space that one cannot consider plant, animal, or human. My work responds to the times when order morphs into chaos and defies reason or explanation by confronting the viewer with a fantastical realm where exaggeration and whimsy are paramount.


May Shorten Townley


Artist Biography

May Shorten Townley is a mixed-medium and ceramic artist from Spotsylvania Virginia.   A self-taught artist for the bulk of her career, Townley entered college after raising a family and received her Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree in Studio Art from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2017.

In 2019, "Fables, Folktales, Fairy Tales and Flapdoodle was an exhibition conceived by Townley and presented at the Morin Gallery in Orange, Virginia.   Regional exhibits include The Fairfax, Virginia Courthouse, the Fairfax City Library,  and the privately owned Courthouse Gallery, also in Fairfax.   Local group exhibitions include, but are not limited to: the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, Artful Dimensions, Bellawood Studio, DuPont Gallery, Gallery VC, The Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, Libertytown Arts Center, Art First Gallery, The Fredericksburg Museum and The Louisa Arts Center in Louisa, Virginia. Townley was Fredericksburg’s First Friday Featured Artist at Goldbender’s and also the Virginia Wine Experience in 2012. Solo exhibitions include several at The Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Studio A. Gallery in Fredericksburg, and the Muse Gallery in Louisa, Virginia. Her work was recently chosen as part of two national exhibitions:  Unique Viewpoints and Dimensional Expressions, where her piece “F Sharp” garnered third place in 2018.  In 2019, two of her pieces were chosen for inclusion at the Louisa Arts Center's Purcell Gallery Exhibition:  "Fire and Ice". 


 Townley is the recipient of Third Place and an Honorable Mentions in both the Uniquely Fredericksburg and Uniquely Spotsylvania Exhibitions of 2010 and 2013.  Townley’s work is part of the permanent collection of Germanna Community College, where during undergraduate studies she was honored with the title: Art Student of the Year. Townley is the recipient of the prestigious 2016-2017 Nina Bushnell art scholarship through the University of Mary Washington.  At graduation Townley was honored in 2017 by the University of Mary Washington’s Alumni Association with the Bachelor of Liberal Studies Distinguished Graduate Award, and through the University of Mary Washington Arts Department, was awarded the Award of Excellence.  In 2019, "Fables, Folktales, Fairy Tales and Flapdoodle was an exhibition conceived by Townley and presented at the Morin Gallery in Orange, Virginia.


Townley works daily in her home studio, sells and exhibits her work at the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Arts Center in Orange, Virginia, Nourish Louisa in Louisa, Virginia, Rootstock Provisions and Station II in Richmond, Virginia and to private collectors throughout the region.


Full CV

I dream of Painting self portrait.jpg

 The majority of my art

     features the luna moth

    in one of its many stages.

     This lovely, nocturnal, 

     metamorphic creature embodies the cycle of life and embraces    change--the vital essence of life.

“There is no place for grief in a house     which serves the Muse.”  ― Sappho