Vermont Arts Council

Site-Specific Art

Bright abstract forms appear on a number of pages on this website. One is a brilliantly colored fingerprint–a detail from  “Inside the Light in the Dark,” by Dan Gottsegen. Other details from that same painting represent DNA strands and blood cells. All of the work is part of a larger installation at the Vermont Department of Public Safety and Forensics Lab in Waterbury, an Art in State Buildings project completed in November, 2012.

Visual artist Dan Gottsegen and landscape designer Terry Boyle were chosen through a competitive process to conceptualize and create the art. Dan was the lead artist, starting the project literally from the ground up. He was talking about a building site, not a website when he said, “It’s really fun to look at a site, and to look at the needs. As soon as I saw the site, I knew I wanted to get Terry involved in this.” Terry and Dan have worked together on other public art projects.

He Had to Look

Both Paintings - resizedDan spent hours combing through the State Police archives, becoming familiar with things he called “a part of Vermont most of us never see.” Eventually, that research was expressed in two paintings for the lobby, glass panels hung in a courtyard, and symbols carved into rock. DNA, blood smears, and fingerprints were represented in one painting; police dogs, heroes, and history in another. Dan said, “There was a lot to cram in, and I still had to make them work. I had faith, though… The challenge is to take all of the elements and play with them for hundreds of hours, to come up with something that is beautiful and coherent.”

The glass panels are mounted in metal, and hang between two trees at the front of a circle formed by mulch, shrubs and boulders. A curved grass pathway leads into the circle. The rocks are flat on top and invite you to sit. The word FREEDOM is carved into the side of one stone; UNITY appears on another. Vermont’s motto is one of countless small features in this large installation. The words also seem to describe the work itself; it is both expansive and collaborative.

November Install - resizedSee For Yourself

You can see the entire work at the  Vermont Department of Public Safety and Forensics Lab in Waterbury, just off of Route 2.

This installation and more of Dan’s work is shown on his website.