New York

Natalie Bieser

Nancy Hoffmann Gallery

After Stone, Natalie Bieser is admirably frugal in her choice of materials: thin balsa sticks, thread and tiny beads. Bieser has eliminated color from her new pieces; the wood is darkened with graphite, the thread is black; the beads black or silver black. But she continues to deal with the effects of gravity on her relatively weightless materials, arranging them so wood and thread combine to form various closed and open outlines, with the beads accumulating at the lower points on the loops of thread.

These pieces usually consist of two sticks and two pieces of thread with beads. One piece of thread is attached to an end of each piece of wood, the other is attached to the other end of only one of them. Thus, one thing leads to another. Bieser attaches the wood to the wall at slight angles, however she wants them. This determines, without any decision, the outline that the attached piece of thread will take while the other one is free for Bieser to stick to the wall at any point, completing the configuration, crossing the first thread or not, paralleling it or creating a closed shape. Finally the beads conform to the thread, but in doing so emphasize and stabilize the configuration.

Bieser would be lost without the beads and the way they tend to line up like little roller-coasters waiting to start the next climb. They tauten the work. But it still seems languidly arch, like watch chains, strings to monocles and single strand necklaces dipping to the navel during the roaring '20s. These associations are not entirely overcome by Bieser's more apparent structure and reduced color. The work is smarter than it seems and the intentions clearer than before, but Bieser is playing to the hilt a familiar graphic fineness.

Roberta Smith