Artwork copyright Stuart Schechter. Photo courtesy of the artist.
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Impressions, 2013

Stuart Schechter
(American, born 1958)

Location: Washington State University - Vancouver, Vancouver


Artist Stuart Schechter created Impressions from a Douglas fir tree that was cut down to make way for the new building. Schechter mapped the tree, cut it into planks, and hung each of the thirty-nine planks in the same position it occupied before being cut, creating an abstracted cross-section of the tree. He added carved symbols of the Vancouver area past and present, such as a bear, trees, and salmon, and words and phrases. As he worked on the sculpture, Schechter kept wondering "What kind of impression will I leave on earth?" From the second floor balcony, you can see that the words on the planks start to unite into stanzas and a poem about being "lost" – in nature, in a forest, in yourself. Schechter notes that "In a way the tree has come home. This tree lay in a field for two years before I found that it still existed… The tree traveled back to its original spot where I hope it stays for a long while."

(The words on the planks are from the poem "Lost" by David Wagoner, whose main subject is the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest.)

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Washington State University.


Born and raised in Michigan, artist Stuart Schechter explores where and how art and technology coincide, and describes himself as being "always a tinkerer". He received a degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics from Wayne State University in Detroit, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1986, and then studied painting and sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he met Ralph Helmick. Between 1993 and 2008, he worked collaboratively with Helmick to create sculptures and installations for public spaces. He is currently working as a solo artist and is based in Massachusetts.


Material Category

Sculpture - wood


Douglas fir and stainless steel


16 ft x 6 ft x 6 ft

ID Number


Acquisition Method

Site responsive commission

Artist Location

Massachusetts, United States



Washington State University

Artwork Location

Washington State University - Vancouver
Undergrad Building, North entrance, main floor

WA County




Site Type



14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98686

Geo. Coordinates

45.730262 | -122.635898

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