Falkirk’s Park Gallery to host “The Graphic Novel World of Metaphrog” exhibition

The Graphic Novel World of Metaphrog” an exhibition by award-winning duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, opens at Falkirk’s Park Gallery this week, running from Saturday 29th January until Sunday 17th April 2022.

The Graphic Novel World of Metaphrog 2022

The exhibition is part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 and features work from Metaphrog’s 27 years creating comics and graphic novels.

“Spanning our whole career it includes pages from Strange Weather Lately, our very first comic, selections from the Louis graphic novels, right up to the more recent fairy tale adaptations,” John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs reveal, “as well as a section on The First Men on Mercury, our four-page adaptation of the Edwin Morgan poem.”

There are over 55 pieces of original art, prints and artifacts and Metaphrog have included process pages, scripts and sketchbooks, as well as short videos.

Also on show are some pieces of non-comic original art from Sandra – work that she has made both for commissions and, also, just for pleasure, working with pastels, for example.

  • Alice by Metaphrog
  • Bluebeard by Metaphrog
  • First Men on Mercury by Metaphrog
  • The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog
  • The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog
  • The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog
  • Louis - Night Salad by Metaphrog
  • Louis: Night Salad by Metaphrog
  • Louis - Red Letter Day by Metaphrog
  • Louis by Metaphrog
  • Mark E Smith Portrait by Sandra Marrs (Metaphrog)
  • The Red Shoes by Metaphrog
  • The Red Shoes by Metaphrog

“When The Park Gallery approached us with the idea of an exhibition we were very excited,” the hugely creative pair explain.

“This will be our first ever solo gallery show, and it’s an honour to have our work displayed at such a prestigious venue, in such a beautiful, historic building. It also feels very significant to see graphic novels and comics taken seriously by the wider world of art.

“Over the years we have created several hundred comic pages, so we had to be extremely selective about what is on show. We wanted to make it an interesting cultural and artistic experience for adults and children alike, and a visit to Callendar House, with its permanent displays and beautiful park and setting, should prove a wonderful day out.”

“Graphic novels are an exciting and vibrant artform – at the crossover between literature and painting,” the duo expand. “Their composition is similar to film and perhaps more so to music – all the elements and parameters work together to create an explosion of meanings. Visual storytelling has become an increasingly large part of our global culture.”

Some of the art on show is for sale, and the Callendar House shop also will have a selection of graphic novels and prints for sale. Metaphrog have also produced a limited-edition catalogue (with a small selection of the artwork), with introductions by Teddy Jamieson (writer at The Herald) and Laurence Grove (The University of Glasgow) and a special postcard to mark the occasion.

Due to the COVID situation, there will unfortunately not be an opening event, but Metaphrog celebrate on our social media accounts with videos posts.

Metaphrog - John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs. Photo: Bob McDevitt
Metaphrog – John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs. Photo: Bob McDevitt

Metaphrog are Franco-Scottish duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist. In 1994, Sandra packed a bag and moved from France to Scotland to find herself and to become an artist. That same year, John returned from working in the Netherlands. A punk with a PhD in Opto-Electronics, from the University of Strathclyde, he was working in science but had always dreamed of being a writer.

Their meeting was a catalyst: they fell in love and immediately started making and self-publishing comics together.

Their Louis graphic novels (2000-2011) received multiple Eisner Award nominations (the Oscars of comics), critical acclaim worldwide, and Louis – Night Salad was Highly Commended for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards (2011). Their fairy tale adaptations, published by Papercutz in New York (2015-2020), with support from Creative Scotland, saw glowing reviews in The Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian among many, and endorsements by Michel Faber, Denise Mina, Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Frank Quitely and Bryan and Mary Talbot.

The Little Mermaid won the Excelsior Awards Junior 2018. In 2009 they made a comic adaptation of Edwin Morgan’s poem The First Men on Mercury for The Association for Scottish Literary Studies for National Poetry Day.

As well as making comics, they love to spread the word about the medium and have delivered over 600 author visits in schools and libraries, as well as undertaking school residencies. In 2015 they were Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. They live in Glasgow.

The Park Gallery is a contemporary visual arts and crafts gallery situated in Callendar House, a handsome Georgian building amidst a magnificent park and woodland. The Park Gallery is best known in Central Scotland for its contemporary programme of high quality, thought-provoking and at times, challenging exhibitions by local, national and international artists. It also offers a programme of workshops and gallery talks, often led by the exhibiting artists and makers, for most of the scheduled exhibitions.

The Park Gallery is run by Falkirk Community Trust, a charitable company set up and funded by Falkirk Council to deliver culture, library, recreation, and sport services on its behalf.

• The Graphic Novel World of Metaphrog – An Exhibition by award-winning duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers | 29th January 2022 – 17th April 2022, The Park Gallery, Callendar House, Falkirk FK1 1YR | Callendar House is open every day except Tuesday 10.00am – 4.00pm | Entry is free

• Metaphrog metaphrog.com | Twitter: @metaphrog | Facebook: @Metaphrog | Instagram: @metaphrog_art

Park Gallery, Callender House | Falkirk Heritage on Facebook: @falkirkheritage | Twitter: @FCTrust | Falkirk Arts Network: falkirkarts.net | Falkirk Arts on Facebook: @Falkirkarts | Falkirk Community Trust Facebook: @falkirkcommunitytrust | Falkirk Community Trust Instagram: @falkirkcommunitytrust

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Art and Illustration, British Comics, Comic Art, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions, Other Worlds

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