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Exhibit A: The Candy Stripper


Mercedes Helnwein

Mercedes Helnwein

Mercedes Helnwein

A candy striper is such an all-American picture of wholesome goodness, but not in the hands of artist Mercedes Helnwein.

Her candy striper may be wearing that oh-so-sweet uniform, complete with Florence Nightingale hat, but she is a picture of truculence, a cigarette dangling in defiance, her mouth an insolent pout, her eyes disturbingly blurred.

And there is often a beguiling mixture of innocent ingénue and film noir decadence in much of Mercedes' work. This features in No Way Home, an exhibition of new works by Mercedes currently showing in the Molesworth Gallery, Dublin (www.molesworthgallery.com).

Born in Vienna, Mercedes later moved to Ireland with her family, where she spent her teens drawing, writing and absorbing influences, which range from the Southern Gothic to the cartoons of Robert Crumb; from 19th Century Russian literature to American motel culture and the Delta blues. The result is a style of her own, vaguely restless and disturbed.

She multi-tasks as an artist, film maker, writer, journalist.

And Mercedes contributed art to Beck's 2006 album The Information and she appeared in his video for Gamma Ray. She divides her time between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Tipperary, and her work is in many important international collections, while her most recent exhibition in London was bought out in its entirety by Damien Hirst.

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