At the age of thirty, Ewen was still working his way toward the forms of expression that would come to characterize his work in the years ahead. In this large canvas, however, several elements are already evident.
First, it is a large and ambitious canvas, organized and articulate. The scale that Ewen aimed at, and was clearly comfortable with, was part of his mature attitude toward making art in 1955. The canvas may have references to Cézanne in the way the subject is flattened and faceted, and perhaps too in its palette of muted blues, reds, and greens. This reverence for the master of Aix en Provence was one shared by many of those who signed the Refus Global, and chiefly by its author, Paul-Émile Borduas. It may also, with its heavy outlines of contours, owe something to the paintings of other members of the insurgent group of artists in Quebec, and the watercolours and coloured ink drawings by Riopelle in the late 1940s and early 1950s come to mind.
Another factor is that unlike his confrères in Québec, who were committed to abstraction and to Surrealism by this time, Ewen has chosen landscape and the natural world as his subject. In this work he has laid out, almost like an X-ray, a structural analysis of the landscape before him. The fractures, seams, contours, and shapes are pierced with his insight and burrowing vision, and brought into a remarkably cohesive portrait of what must surely be some area in the Laurentians, north of Montreal.
Finally, Ewen has provided the viewer with a sense of the weight and density of his subject. This again is something that will later emerge in his enormous, gouged, and spectacular painting/sculptures of weather systems, and natural phenomena - lightning, hailstorms, night skies, windstorms, comets, and other such subjects.
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