Lot 240 - Mercedes Helnwein - Pam
Oil Pastel on Paper
A6 (10x15cm) original artwork
Signed on verso
Mercedes Helnwein is a visual artist and writer, born in Vienna, Austria. She moved to Ireland and the US with her family in her teens, consciously choosing not to attend art schools. Heavily inspired by American culture, her work is known for its large scale oil pastels, predominantly populated by nurses, beauty queens, witches, girl gangs, cheerleaders, bridesmaids, and the visual theatrics of American adolescence.
Her first art shows were self-instigated, one-night events in Los Angeles often with one or two other inexperienced young artists, most commonly photographer Alex Prager. Sponsored by various alcoholic beverage companies, magazines, and unlikely supporters such as Land Rover, these shows generated a surprisingly genuine response and enabled Helnwein to continue developing her ideas, styles and experimenting with her interests and themes. She exhibited regularly in Los Angeles during this period at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, as well as in Europe, steadily garnering interest and collectors, amongst them Damien Hirst, who bought out a London show. With her series "Asleep in the Wind" Helnwein broke from the primarily pencil-focused style of her early work, moving onto large-scale formats and experimenting with oil pastel as a medium. In 2015 she further developed her work in this direction with "Living Room Fire", expanding into a wider range of media and delving deeper into the theme of American living rooms and the "almost normal" activities of its characters. Film and photography has also long been an integral part of Helnwein's work, whether behind the scenes as reference material or in the forefront with films for her exhibitions, such as the "Cops and Nurses" film in 2013. In 2017 she had a solo exhibition at the Edward Hopper House, Nyack NY, with her series “Chaos Theory”. Followed by her show “Jerks and Soulmates” in 2019 at the Molesworth gallery in Dublin, Ireland.
Her novel “Slingshot” is being published by Wednesday Books/St. Martin's Press in April 2021. Mercedes Helnwein currently lives and works in downtown Los Angeles and Ireland