Mineko Grimmer’s installation sculptures are like the sound of laughter — recognizable but also unique in that no two expressions are identical.
The Los Angeles-based artist who was born and raised in Japan presents a piece of melodic art in her solo show “Intermittent Composition” at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
The sculpture measures about 5 feet high and 16 feet by 5 feet at the base.
In “Intermittent Composition,” 16-foot-long bamboo rods reach toward each other, crisscrossing several feet above the center of a shallow, rectangular pool. Hanging above that is a frozen mass of pebbles.
As the ice holding them together melts, the pebbles are re leased at increasing rates of speed. They fall onto the bamboo and splash into the basin, creating an acoustic performance.
When one collection of pebbles is completely released, that particular music is gone forever. Another frozen chunk is put in its place, and a new performance begins.
“This particular moment will never repeat,” Grimmer said. “In Japan, it is expressed (as) ‘Ici chigo ichie.’ It means ‘Each moment is unique.’ It’s one occasion; it’s one meeting.”
She compares the changing speeds of falling pebbles to the building crescendo of a musical composition.
“(It’s) like a music record, but you start it with ice,” Grimmer said. “It’s very cold, so the action will be slow. Then toward the middle, there is much more action in the sound you hear then. Toward the end, it slows down again.”
“This is art,” she continued. “Not just looking art, but something you can experience with your own senses — looking, hearing and feeling.”
In her early work, Grimmer said she began to notice the power of sound and combined that awareness with her interests in the concepts of change and time.
“Once I began to notice sound, I was quick to figure out that I could use that sound as energy,” she explained. “Natural energy has a kind of power to touch our deeply held emotions.
“I like natural materials, and also I like natural phenomenon, so I brought those together — but the sound produced from the sculpture is accidental because I’m not controlling it.”
“I see melting ice as its own gravity or reacting to temperature and environment,” Grimmer added. “Each pebble has a density and that’s important because it produces appropriate sound when it hits strings or bamboo poles.”
Grimmer said she doesn’t expect a particular reaction from her audience members. Instead, she would like visitors to form their own personal relationships with her art.
“Generally speaking, I like the viewer to make up his or her own story or their own statement when they see my art,” Grimmer said. “Depending on the viewer, the experience varies, and I enjoy that. Instead of me (saying) ‘There’s this meaning or that meaning,’ or ‘The statement is such and such,’ I want them to make their own story.”
IF YOU GO
Show: “Intermittent Composition” by Mineko Grimmer
Where: Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery (Room 7170), Cuesta College, Highway 1, San Luis Obispo
When: Through Sept. 25. The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during exhibitions.
Information: 546-3936 or email@example.com .