This image is titled "Try" by Artist Martynas Pavilonis working out of Vilnius, Lithuania, Europe. The image is of a shadow figure hanging from a yellow crescent moon in the sky, above a forest of rolling hills lined with short wide trees. Among the trees are two shaded moose ... or elk.
The background of this image features a star-studded and cloudy night sky above, and the tree-lined hills below. Most of the landscape is shrouded in darkness, the primary figure is a shade, the two animals below are shadows and the landscape as a whole is very dark. There a few patterns that are repeated, The style of the trees, with angular tops and wide bases, are repeated throughout the landscape, and the hills themselves are variations on the same shape. The hills in the background rise high and drop with steep slopes of gently curving lines, while the hills in the foreground are more shallow versions in the same style.
The image as a whole is particularly flat, without much dimensional detail or depth, which is a signature of Pavilonis' style as a whole. The background and the Foreground feel right on top of one another. The moon is hanging in the sky but it doesn't feel somewhere off in unreachable space, it feels just above the ground. Close enough for someone to reach up and grab it. Similarly, it feels like the peaks of the hills in the background could be touched from the shallow hills in the foreground. Or the shadow figure hanging from the moon could just reach down and pick up one of the animals below. Every element of the design feels right next to one another, and it gives the style a surreal feeling.
The primary subjects of this picture are the yellow crescent moon and the shadow figure hanging from it. The crescent moon in terms of meaning and emphasis stands apart from the rest of the landscape because it is the most vibrant sources of light within the picture. The shadowy humanoid hanging from the moon has all of the anthropomorphic elements but here they've been reduced to their most simple form. His (or her) Arms and Legs are undefined and non-distinct. The head is an oblong semi-circle. And the torso is just that, without any remarkable features, or distinguishing marks. The only thing about the character that is distinguished is his contour (the outline of the body as separate from the rest of the environment.) and the yellow points of his eyes.
With the exception of the yellow moon and the yellow eyes of the shadow figure clinging to the moon, and the tiny stars in the sky, the colors are mostly cool, complimentary, and near the edges of the images shrouded in shadow. Dark purples that mix into equally dark blues makes up the palette for the sky, and beneath the trees, and the section of the hills that are illuminated take on a muted blue-green hue of low value.
Meaning & Being
The most obvious theme behind this picture is a kind of motivation. The shadow person has leapt from the forest bellow to get closer to the light of the moon. He even looks a little silly just hanging from it, but he made the attempt, and maybe as a message to the observer that, we should Try too.
I think you can find a deeper level of meaning by paying special attention to the relationships between light and shadow within the reality of the image. In this landscape, the further your are from the light sources the less distinct you become, in terms of detail but also size. We can see the two animals on the ground, but only because they are directly beneath the light of the moon, and they are small within the general picture. Here the only way to become more distinct, to find and emphasize the limits of your dimension, is to be as close as possible to the light source. By leaping for the moon and getting his hands around it, the shadow figure has become more distinct, more real and more defined than if he'd stayed in the shadows beneath. And even though he's still without defining or remarkable features, within the landscape, by being so close to the light he's become the largest and most primary figure within the image. Maybe reaching for our goals helps us to define and expand the limits of our selves.
Some After Thoughts:
Martynas Pavilonis style is interesting, because in another artwork, the light source may have been the sun, and the figure more detailed, maybe even beautifully defined. But in this picture and his style, in general, the world is cast in dark shades, often taking place at night, the only light is from the moon, and the only living things are ill-defined shadows. But he still gets the theme across that reaching for light is inherently valuable, and maybe he's even more effective in conveying this theme by making his figure simple shadows, and the world dark. A source of light is that much more emphasized in a world that's dark.