Illuminated as if by a spotlight, the women in Mercedes Helnwein’s portraits appear suspect. Framed more like mugshots than family photos, the drawings have a vintage feel, as if Helnwein is uncovering a mystery buried in a 1950s vision of a suburban, middle-class world where nothing bad is supposed to happen. Helnwein finds subtle ways to make Americana seem dark, from her characters’ nose bleeds to muddled facial expressions obscured by smeared graphite marks. Helnwein’s solo show “The Trouble with Dreams” is currently on view at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in LA through November 2. Take a look at some photos of the work by Carlos Gonzalez.