Randall Von Bloomberg is an American artist and Professor of Art at El Camino College, in the greater Los Angeles, California area. His recent work derives inspiration from the California landscape and native plants. The paintings in his show, “Tikkun Olam and the California Native Garden,” was the result of a year-long artist residency at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley, California, whose mission is to inspire and educate Southern Californians about the beauty and ecological benefits of California native plant landscapes.
Tikkun Olam is a concept in Judaism that means “repair the world.” According to medieval Jewish mysticism, the world was created perfect. Soon after this creation, there was a cosmic shattering that scattered sparks across the world. Tikkun Olam is a call for humanity to restore what was shattered, to find and gather these “holy sparks” and piece them back together. Cultivating a California native garden is a way to practice Tikkun Olam. It is a call to restore the landscape more closely to how it existed before humans altered it. Cultivating native gardens is a way to support local and unique plant diversity and in turn, the native creatures that thrive on them.
My painting process is slow and meticulous, and based on careful observation. Each painting is an exploration of a specific native plant or landscape. I find each painted image by gathering and layering brushstrokes of broken colors. These dabs of colors intermingle, like subatomic particles, forming the solid plant shapes and the spaces that surround them. Through the nuance of my craft, I seek out the hidden “holy sparks” that compose the cosmic energy contained in and emanating from these living things. Through my painting practice,
I answer the call of Tikkun Olam, by building a sensitivity and awareness to our surrounding landscape, and calling attention to the need to cultivate native gardens.