Jean McEwen began his unique style of painting in 1955 and displayed the results of his new explorations in painting at the group show titled “Espace 55” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. From 1955 until the end of his career, Jean McEwen had devoted his entire creative output to exploring the power of colour, while providing it with a structure, with the aim of revealing the qualities of depth inherent to it. McEwen’s entire career was devoted to the exploration of non-figurative art. Jean McEwen became president of the Non-Figurative Artists’ Association of Montreal.
Jean McEwen’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and has been included in a number of group exhibitions throughout Canada and internationally. In 1963 the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, a gallery noted for representing important postwar international artists, held a solo exhibition of McEwen’s work. The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired two of Jean McEwen’s paintings.
In 1963 McEwen’s work was included in an exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art titled “Fifteen Canadian Painters” which travelled to Salon des Galeries Pilotes at the Palais de Rumine in Lausanne, Switzerland. McEwen’s work was also included in an exhibition titled Cinq Peintres Canadiens at the Musee Galliera in Paris. In the same year McEwen won honourable mention for his work at the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil. In 1964, McEwen was given a solo show at the Galerie Anderson-Mayer in Paris. He was chosen to exhibit his highly colourful Suite Parisienne series at the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris in 1978. His work was vital to the movement of the Montreal school of non-figurative art of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and his unique approach influenced a younger generation of contemporary Canadian artists.
Constance Naubert-Riser, Jean McEwen, Colour in Depth, Paintings and Works on Paper 1951-1987, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1987, pg’s. 19, 157, 158.