John Latham's "Private Dancer" typifies and exemplifies a shift to the abstract and the forced implementation of cognitive interpretation. Its immediate appeal is to our subconscious. The figure conveys a sense of movement, spontaneity, and exhibitionism. We can hear the music, we can feel the excitement and we can relish the “naughty” bravado of a smoke laden 19th century Parisian bordello.
Degas is with Renoir, deep into the Absinthe and hashish. Degas is dreaming of his "oh so young" ballet dancers. Renoir is thinking of his voluptuous bathers.
We sense that context, and yet we also feel the emotions of the dancer's nymphatic self absorption as our dancer puts on a show for us, for our subconscious; for the part of our mind that never shows nor knows itself.
I thought of Degas's ballet dancers. But Tamerlin's dancer is not petite nor pretty; this dancer was never an innocent. Degas shows his dancers for what they are. Pretty, open and giving their all. This dancer is lewd and yet we know that there is more to her than the public fling of her thigh and the posed and commercial curve to her hip. She has two sides to her persona, a public ostentation and a private discretion.
And of course, (as with Nietzsche's "abyss") as we are watching her she is also watching us.....and perhaps Degas and Renoir as well? (Alex Castle)