Cecil Howell
Art, Design, and Research

Cecil Howell is a landscape designer and artist, whose expansive practice includes visual art, design, and landscape architecture. Her work is an exploration of the land: how it emerges over millennia, how we are shaped by it, and how, especially through design and science, we understand and inform the land around us.

Cecil approaches her work through studying how spaces are formed over time through the dynamic interactions of geological, cultural, and ecological forces. The start of any project begins with questions which eventually leads towards examining spatial data, scientific research, journalism, and historical narratives. Through research, model making, writing, and drawing she is interested in creating narratives that tell the complex stories of a place; expanding our perspective and dialogue. This work is the point of departure for her landscape projects and the basis for much of her visual art. 

After 9 years of working for multiple award-winning firms, including Hargreaves, Future Green, and Margie Ruddick Landscape, Cecil created her own studio and collaborative: Object + Field, in order to expand her practice beyond the built environment and into artistic explorations of the human imagination.

Survey of Shadow

This is an archive of the ephemeral. A series of drawings, primarily in pastel on paper, of the ground.

Each drawing begins with a memory of the ground in mind, but moves away from a particular place/time as the composition and emotion of the drawing unfolds. In this way they are part diagram and part dream, part map and part memory. The series highlights the accumulation of subtle compositions that make our days, but also speak to the fragility I feel, we all feel, so accutely right now; with a gust of wind everything changes.

2022 - 2023.
A still life

These works are fueled by a series of questions regarding the landscape (What is between the known and unknown? Where does an object end? What can’t the eye see? How do plants hold memories? How does desire shape the science of botany? How does desire decompose?). They are not attempts to answer the questions, but rather make room for the questions to hang in the air.

To Catch a Shadow, to Catch a Color

Installation View

At the edge of the eastern seaboard lies a small island densely vegetated with firs, spruce, and a thick carpet of moss. The fog and clouds move through the landscape quickly and with conviction, obscuring a sunny day in minutes, and leaving as swiftly. This installation is a meditation on the movement of colors in this landscape, the flashes of neon green, buoy pink, sea blue, that appear and disappear with the shifting light.