project image
Jessica Lambert

first performed on November 26, 2018
River Campus Art Gallery, Cape Girardeau, MO
performed once in 2018


Cape Girardeau, MO


The vulnerability women encounter in medical environments often leaves them feeling dismissed, disregarded, and ignored. My work explores the experiences and emotions of women in these settings through imagery of surgical instruments, scarring, and sanitary products. These representations of physical marks of overlooked women in medicine are often seen as unacceptable in the public’s eye. Society would rather fear or avoid discussions of women’s reproductive issues instead of facing them head on.

“Examination” is a collection of works that center around images of the vaginal speculum. This cold and sterile device embodies the touch, sound, and sight of pelvic exams. It interacts with the female body by force and manipulation creating pressure, discomfort, or pain. The metal instrument appears as a pattern on rolls of examination table paper, hanging from steel holders on the wall. These repeating devices act as the dull patterning on curtains that cover the door to an examination room. This paper becomes a stand in for each visit a woman makes to a doctor. After each visit the paper must be changed and discarded for every new patient in a medical office.

The curtained area serves as an examination room in which a patient waits, disrobes, and is inspected by a doctor in an OBGYN office. Viewers are invited to have a private experience with the table by lying down and placing one’s feet into the stirrups. The intimacy of the space allows viewers to reflect on their own emotions and the emotions of others in medical environments.

Within this space, “Room 2 Patient 14” was performed in isolation to reflect the privacy of doctors visits. I entered the area at the end of the table with the stirrups. I climbed onto the examination table and placed my feet into the stirrups. After laying in this exposing position, I climbed down the table. I returned to the end of the table to pull the now torn and crinkled examination paper. This movement replaces the paper and resets the space for another interaction with the examination table. Slowly they discarded paper gathers underneath the examination table. I repeat these interactions for several minutes which produces 46 performative film stills. The film stills become a representation for female patients visiting an OBGYN office.