Jacky Connolly’s “Shadows on the Hudson”
              Tim Gentles
              A source of artistic fascination since the nineteenth century, when it became the subject of the Hudson River School of landscape painters, the grandeur of Upstate New York’s Hudson Valley also figures in Jacky Connolly’s first solo exhibition, at Kimberly-Klark in Queens, New York. The exhibition’s centerpiece is a video projected against the wall of the darkened gallery—for the duration of the show, the gallery is only open during the evening. Entitled Hudson Valley Ruins (2016), the video, as with all of the artist’s, has been constructed entirely within the computer game The Sims 3 (2009). Named after a website that chronicles the region’s abandoned architectural landmarks, it is set in a virtualized Hudson Valley with an ambience that might best be described as rural-suburban Halloween macabre circa 2004. Hudson Valley Ruins’s opening sequence clearly situates its aesthetic coordinates—cartoonishly gothic red lettering displays the title over a shot, at dawn, of rolling hills, fall foliage and, in the foreground, a weather vane on the roof of a lone house. The wind whistles threateningly, a motif that persists throughout the video’s half hour. Then, it begins to rain. Like The Sims, Hudson Valley Ruins contains no dialogue, but is accompanied by in-game …

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