Born in Cardiff but raised in Glasgow, Merlyn Evans was a painter whose technical mastery enabled him to move with ease between the two disciplines of painting and graphic work. Evans studied at Glasgow School of Art, where he was awarded the Haldane Travelling Scholarship and visited Berlin, Copenhagen and Paris. Later that year, he won a free place at the Royal College of Art in London and made frequent trips to Paris, where he met Mondrian, Kandinsky, Giacometti and Max Ernst.
He also exhibited with the London Group and at the International Surrealist Exhibition during this period.
In 1938, Evans moved to South Africa to take up a teaching post and enlisted in the Signals Company in the South African Army. Both experiences strongly influenced his artistic style introducing an ethnic element and it was at this time that he began to make colour prints incorporating combinations of etching, aquatint, engraving and drypoint. In the late 1940s he began to paint anti-war subjects, depicting violent allegories of World War II.
He moved back to London in 1946 where his artistic career developed, enabling him to secure his first solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries and later, in 1956, the Whitechapel Gallery held a retrosprective of his work.
In 1963, he rented a studio in St Ives for the summer, where he went annually thereafter. He also took a post as the exchange artist in residence at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967, which allowed him to visit New York and led to him meeting Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Robert Motherwell.
On his return to London, Marlborough Fine Art held a one-man exhibition for him entitled 'Events and Abstractions'.
He passed away in 1973.