Artist in Focus: Merlyn Evans
This display marks the centenary of the birth of Merlyn Evans, who was born in Cardiff in 1910.
Evans’s work as a painter, printmaker and sculptor shows a deep awareness and understanding of modern European abstraction.
He was also interested in classical themes and mythologies, but his work is nonetheless infused with a romantic symbolism.
His early work is often associated with Surrealism and in 1936 he exhibited seven works at the famous International Surrealist Exhibition in London.
In the late 1930s and 1940s his work responded to the violence and tragedy of the European political and economic crisis and its sequel in the Second World War. The failure of contemporary politics was satirised in ambitious paintings full of complex symbolism.
In the 1950s printmaking, using a wide range of engraving techniques, became an important element of his work. At the same time his paintings became increasing abstract.
Flattened geometric forms were deployed against neutral backgrounds to create a distinctively architectonic style that still carried figurative references. These late paintings of the 1960s are among the boldest and most grandly dramatic paintings of their time.
Merlyn Evans was born in Llandaff, Cardiff in 1910. His family moved to Rutherglen near Glasgow in 1913, but Evans always regarded himself as a Welshman.
He studied at Glasgow School of Art 1927-30 and the Royal College of Art 1931-33. He lived in South Africa 1938-42, returning to live and work in London in 1946. He died in 1973.
This display has been selected by the writer and art historian Mel Gooding. It has been made possible through loans organised through the Estate of Merlyn Evans.