The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Visible Phantom

Visible Phantom

Millett’s research on medical history informs her artwork about the human body. She creates objects and installations that represent an intersection of scientific ideas and contemporary aesthetic observations. One track in her research is a series of so-called “obstetrical phantoms,” or birthing models. Obstetrical phantoms were, and still are, widely used in Western medicine to illustrate anatomical complications and to teach medical students and midwives birthing techniques during labor. The models come in a variety of materials and forms, but typically isolate the abdominal area, cutting the body below the ribs and at the middle of the thighs. As a resident of the Digital Stone Project, Millett created Visible Phantom, an obstetrical model carved out of marble that capitalizes on the translucency of the stone to suggest the sensual quality of skin. By enveloping the form in marble drapery, the sculpture pays homage to the long tradition of stone carving. Visible Phantom examines contemporary concerns about privacy and voyeurism, and serves as a cultural critique of larger societal issues surrounding reproduction, gender identity, and sexual taboos.

14" x 19" x 26"
Bianco Acquabianca marble
Year Created: 
2016