What unites the canvases presented in this new exhibition devoted to the work ofJean McEwenis the dealer and collector Simon Blais’ view of the corpus of this key Canadian artist of the modern era. Conceived as an ode to colour, it brings together some twenty oil paintings—their glazed surfaces evidence of his signature style—representative of the artist’s creative journey. It will feature examples from McEwen’s major series, includingLes jardins de givre(1956),Les drapeaux inconnus(1963–1964),Icônes(1967),Les jardins d’aube(1976),Les temples heureux(1977),Les champs colorés(1981),Les drapeaux écorchés(1986),andL’envers du paysage(1990), as well as from his final group of works,Les poèmes barbares(1998), truly the artist’s swan song, as he died in 1999.
A Galerie Simon Blais mainstay, Jean McEwen is a seminal figure amongst Montréal’s post-war abstractionists. A self-taught artist who began painting after having abandoned his studies in pharmacy, he was always extremely interested in poetry, and was able to enrich the concept of the “all-over” with a lyrical sweetness through his highly individual technique of applying paint directly with his hands.