A transect is a path used by researchers to survey a geographic area. The path follows a predetermined course that does not deviate for topography or local conditions. This allows researchers to gather data about the location, density, and composition of the subject being studied. Often, a transect will be marked in advance and surveyed multiple times in order to observe changes in the same region.
Several years ago, I worked as a member of a research team in the rainforests of the western Olympic Peninsula. As a part of my job, I followed pre-marked transects and collected data about vegetation and potential nest-predators. I quickly realized the difference between the theoretical transect of textbooks and the grueling, messy act of holding one’s course in an uncooperative world. Through ravines full of Devil’s Club and over the blasted landscape of clear-cuts, I clung fast to my compass and searched desperately for the next sign marking my path. In these tense moments of uncertainty I learned important lessons about purpose, perseverance, and the mechanics of faith.
The paintings included in this show are the products of my own personal transect. Through them I am slowly piecing together an understanding of the world in which I live. They span a period of approximately six years, in which I have covered a great deal of ground and learned many hard-earned lessons. They vary in both subject and style according to the nature of the landscape at the time of their creation.
I am still walking my transect, and though it occasionally passes through patches of Blue Berries and forests lined with Wood Sorrel, I know that the real value is to be found in the dense and thorny brambles of doubt and difficulty.
-Michael McDevitt, 2008