1923 - 1999
Essentially self-taught, he worked in Paris in the early 1950s. Returning to Montréal, he was committed to nonfiguration, influenced by French impressionism and American abstract expressionism. Though McEwen always employed a hieratic symmetrical composition, his works were experiments in sensual colour, light and gesture.
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Recipient of several Canadian awards and international honours, he was president of the Non-Figurative Artists Association of Montréal in the early 1960s and received several Canadian awards and international honours. A "lyrical abstractionist," he celebrated the potential of colour through a knowledgeable and skilful use of paint. In 1987 a major retrospective of his 20 years' work was held at the MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS DE MONTRÉAL. McEwen's later works continued his pursuit of chromatic interaction with paintings showing subtle references to the movement of the body and to nature.