But Before Bone is Skin curated by Jonell Logan

January 14, 2021 - February 12, 2021

Location: UCF Art Gallery

While prompted by the actions of men, Silver Sparrow is truly the story of women. Mothers and daughters struggling to find their identities and shed legacies that may not be their own. They are all on a quest to define themselves, often bruising and sometimes tearing their skin along the way as they bump against historical, cultural and familial boundaries.

Once they find themselves, bone forms. They develop that which supports them; that they hang their identities and definitions of others on.  The journey towards self, however is ongoing and fragile, much like the bony protrusions that can be seen through the skin.

“But Before Bone is Skin,” curated by Jonell Logan explores this space of women. The path that we take to find peace and resolve in who we are. The artists in the show question and construct internal spaces that are secret, yet teased out and sometimes shared with others. They challenge notions of beauty and the definitions, often prescribed by others, of femininity and propriety. They share their individual questions and journey through womanhood.

Artist Yanique Norman explores the construction of womanhood, while Sharon Norwood’s installations challenge the definition of feminine space. Melissa Alexanders’s images consider the sometimes difficult journey of exploring ourselves, while Shanequa Gay’s paintings and photographs explore the legacy that we inherit and often resist from our mothers and grandmothers. Zipporah Camille Thompson uses ceramics and textile like a secret language to conjure the personal and collective manifestation of memory, power, healing and connection.  

Like Silver Sparrow, their work operates in the presence of women. Their work defines or constructs space, questions notions of class and belonging, and the bonds, and battles of women.

This exhibition is sponsored by the NEA Big Read and inspired by Tayari Jones’ The Silver Sparrow (2011)


Jonell Logan is an independent curator and arts advocate dedicated to supporting the careers of contemporary artists. Originally from New York, Logan worked at several arts organizations including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of Art; Studio Museum in Harlem. Moving South, she worked at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SouthCarolina; and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American History and Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina. She recently served as the Curator in Residence at the McColl Center for Arts and Innovation in Charlotte, NC.

In 2016, Jonell founded 300 Arts Project, an arts consulting company. Through this work, she has curated exhibitions at organizations across the Southeast including the Mint Museum, NC; the National Black Arts Festival, GA; and the Columbia Museum of Art, SC.

In addition to her curatorial work, Jonell is Executive Director of The League of Creative Interventionists (LOCI); a San Francisco-based, non-profit supporting a national network of artists and community partners using creativity to transform communities from within.