Ghost Girls, 2018
Window mounted Duraclear transparencies, 90" x 45"
67 Camel hair brushes mounted on custom hanging brackets
Dish of luminescent paint on custom plexiglass wall mount
Window mounted hand cut perforated inkjet print
Self-timed 35mm slide projector with carousel of 80 individual slides
6 minute 16mm short film projected on continuous loop
Radioluminescence is the phenomenon by which light is produced in a material by bombardment with ionizing radiation and can be used as a low-level light source for night illumination of instruments or signage or other applications where light must be produced for long periods without external energy sources. Radioluminescent paint used to be used for clock hands and instrument dials, enabling them to be read in the dark.
What is now referred to as the Radium Girls, or Ghost Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The painting was done by women at three different factory sites in the United States, and the term now applies to the women who worked at these facilities. The first, United States Radium factory in Orange, New Jersey, beginning around 1917, the second, at Ottawa, Illinois, beginning in the early 1920s, and the third facility at Timex in Waterbury, Connecticut. The politics surrounding this issue which resulted in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights and specifically for women's rights in the workplace has been both heartbreaking and inspiring. Their story especially resonates with Yarrington's expanding interest in Uranium as an element, and its many properties and functions, from its emanation of light wave particles to its inherent power to both sustain life and to take it away.
-Ellen Hackl Fagan, curator