Jemima Kirke has returned to her first love. The 28-year-old Brooklyn resident is best known for playing Jessa on the HBO series Girls, but she studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and considers her acting career largely accidental. Her portrait paintings have taken as subjects both family members and Lena Dunham, the director and co-star of Girls. But Kirke hardly flatters her sitters. Inspired by the work of Alice Neel and Lucian Freud, she employs faux-naïf distortions and flat, gray shading, lending each figure an ashen, disturbing look. Onscreen she traffics in cringe comedy; on canvas, she hints at unsettling inner dramas. At Fouladi Projects, 1803 Market St., San Francisco, (415) 621-2535. Prices range from $3,500 to $8,000.
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