GIRLS Actress Jemima Kirke Paints Women in Wedding Gowns

Self-portrait as a Bride #1, 2015, Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches

Three years ago this month, I introduced you to the paintings of actress Jemima Kirke who played Jessa on the HBO series GIRLS. The award-winning written cable series may have ended, but Jemima continues with her first love, painting, in her Red Hook, Brooklyn art studio.

Actress/ Artist Jemima Kirke in her Brooklyn Studio

Jemima Kirke Paints Women in Wedding Gowns

Zoe in Her Wedding Dress, 2017 Oil on canvas 42 x 22 inches

The mother of two, actress and artist recently exhibited a solo show of her latest works at Sargent’s Daughters contemporary art gallery in New York’s lower east side. The exhibition, Ceremony, features paintings of women posing in their own wedding gowns – but don’t expect blissful brides.

Lola as a Bride, 2017, Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches
Jemima Kirke Paints Women in Wedding Gowns
Self-portrait as a Bride #2, oil on canvas

Inspired by her own recent divorce, the series of various-sized portraits include several of Jemima herself, one recognizable as her fellow actress and GIRLS cast member Allison Williams (below), and others of women with whom Jemima has shared experiences and friendships.

Allison in her wedding gown, 2017, oil on canvas, 68 x 40 inches
Domino (the artist’s sister), 2017, Oil on canvas, 54 x 32 inches
Woman on a Chair with Veil, 2017, oil on canvas

In lieu of forced smiles and typical ‘happy bride’ portraits, the paintings explore the roles taken on by women as they head to the altar: the cultural and societal expectations and delusions attached to the ceremonial institution.

Bride in a Dark Room, 2017,  oil on canvas, 36 x 23 inches

“After her own divorce, Kirke was drawn to the subject of weddings and why women who were otherwise progressive feminists are attracted to an antiquated ceremony and its associated loaded symbology and strict gender roles. Kirke found the desire to participate in the pageantry and pretense both confusing and deeply intrinsic. If women are aware of the power in participating, why do they continue to do so?”

Wearing vacant, almost melancholy, stares the brides confront the viewer as if to ask “Is this societal construct working?”

Emma in Her Wedding Dress, 2017, Oil on canvas, 50 x 30 inches
Elaine in Her Wedding Dress, 2017, Oil on canvas, 50 x 30 inches
ShiShi in My Wedding Dress, 2017,  Oil on canvas 21 x 21 inches

Jemima Kirke (b. 1985, London, U.K.) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, 2008. This is her first solo exhibition at Sargent’s Daughters. Jemima’s only public social media presence is here on Twitter.

images and information courtesy of Sargent’s Daughters Gallery and this fan run tumblr site

You May Know Her as Jessa on GIRLS, But Jemima Kirke Is Also A Talented Artist.

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