Shadow Assembly of the Haw

NYC based artist sTo Len is the current artist in residence at LEVEL Retreat, a local residency program in Chapel Hill, NC. During his stay, sTo has collaborated with the Haw River Assembly to convert trash collected from the local watershed into a series of prints and mixed media artworks. Len created special bags for the 32nd annual Haw River Clean-Up-A-Thon and asked some of its 344 volunteers to save objects with “art potential” that were found throughout 29 different locations. These objects serve as the foundation of sTo Len’s solo exhibition, Shadow Assembly of the Haw, a series of mono prints created with what was found. The prints are made with a self-invented technique called gomitaku, or trash impression, which is the artist’s adaptation of the Japanese printing method called gyotaku (fish impression). Gomitaku similarly uses sumi ink to create prints with the objects by inking, stamping and rubbing them onto paper and fabric. The results are patterned forms, some familiar and some abstract, that become a pictorial writing system to conjure the dark shadows cast by these castaways in our watershed.

sTo Len is a printmaker, installation, sound and performance artist with interests in improvisation and experimentation within a variety of media. His printmaking work updates traditional techniques into an experimental collaboration with nature and a site of discourse on environmentalism and art activism. The cross-disciplinary nature of Len’s work includes transforming public spaces such as a river into an art studio, recycling waste into art materials, creating a community pirate radio station, and hosting water ritual performances at Superfund sites. sTo Len is based in Queens, NY with familial roots in Vietnam and Virginia, and his work incorporates these bonds by connecting issues of their history, environment, traditions and politics. sTo Len has exhibited his artwork internationally and co-founded the alternative arts space Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. sTo Len was the first artist in residence at AlexRenew Wastewater Treatment facility in Alexandria, VA and is the current artist in residence at the Department of Sanitation in NY.

  • See more of his work here: and on Instagram: @stoishere
  • Learn more about LEVEL Retreat: and on Instagram: @levelretreat


Apr 08 2022 - May 01 2022


Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 12-5pm
All Day

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United States
LEVEL retreat


LEVEL retreat
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