Lighting the Fire; Rhetoric within Exhibit

Matthew Limb, the curator of the exhibit, was awarded a prestigious internship through The Center of Craft, Creativity, and Design (CCCD). Limb, with the help of others, were able to create the exhibit, “Lighting the Fire.”

Near the beginning of the room there was a poster which stated a brief description concerning the exhibit,


Lighting the Fire visually explores how ceramics education in the American West influenced clay’s development as a fine art medium in the mid-20th century.  Drawing upon NEHMA’s (Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art) collections of ceramics representing the vessel tradition, the exhibition recounts the teaching philosophies of a group of ceramics educators who inspired future generations of students to push the boundaries of the medium.” 

An obvious use of visual rhetoric has already been defined as you enter. The rhetoric is lying within the art pieces themselves which had persuaded the rise of individual’s pursuing ceramics. Walking through the art exhibit the rhetoric presented was simple yet loud. The environment was organized, clean, and calm which allowed the emotion of the displayed art pieces to share their purpose. Interestingly, most of the pieces of art weren’t on an open display or hung on the wall, but rather they were in drawers for the viewers to seek out for themselves. It is difficult to know why the room was organized the way it was. Was there just too many pieces of art for the size of the room or was it intended to present a “hidden” theme?


The expectation entering the exhibit was to see pieces of art created by current students at Utah State University. The artwork itself was persuasive and has been persuasive throughout history. The visual rhetoric the art pieces hold were persuasive enough to have built a desire among individuals strong enough to devote their lives to the art form. In my eyes looking at the pieces of art arose envy, wishing I had the skills to be able to mold dust to fine and respectable art that has the power to persuade such as these pieces have done.

The room itself presented a simple procedural rhetoric, allowing the audience to walk around the outer part of the room and visualize the art of their choosing. The room was divided and labelled with different types of art work. A majority of the room had giant cabinets with drawers that contained the artwork of artist’s from the past. Small notes were made throughout the room such as, “Please do not touch” and “To view artwork please open drawer” to provide simple instructions but to not take away from the focus of the art itself. The rhetoric of the art room is unique, providing the same entertainment for its audience that the art pieces provided to those who first discovered them. Opening each drawer was surprising and enjoyable, each drawer was labelled with a name and through seeing the artwork of the individual it allowed each viewer to interpret the personality of the artist.

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The title, “Lighting the Fire” denotes the beginning of something. The exhibit itself can argue that the pieces contained in the room were the “spark” to this “fire,” they were the beginning of this art form.

Lighting the Fire, Word Doc


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