In its simplest definition, inlay is the decorative process of gluing shell, metal, stone, tusk, and other materials into a cavity hollowed from a surface. It is an ancient practice; the earliest known inlaid object is from Mesopotamia, around 3000 BC. In recent centuries, artists have applied inlay to musical instruments, adding visual aesthetics that match or augment their musical capacities. The result is the creation of extremely rare and original instruments that transcend their function and become art themselves.
Visual Voices: the New School of Inlaid Art on Guitars and Banjos explores the art and craftsmanship involved in creating these functional masterpieces. Luthiery (guitar making), like inlay, is a highly skilled practice, and this exhibit will be the first of its kind, showcasing the unique relationship of these two distinctive artistries. The exhibition features the work of four artists: Larry Robinson, William “Grit” Laskin, Harvey Leach and Renée Karnes, each renowned within the luthier and inlay communities for instruments of staggering quality.