Portraits of Lovers Fused into One Mass



For Symbiosis, photographer Rik Garrett fuses the bodies of two lovers into one, obscuring the barriers between them with flesh-colored paint. The resultant mass of skin, muscle, and bone is a manifestation of both the divine and the corporeal, capturing the moment of climax wherein the boundaries of the mortal self collapse. Inspired by his own falling in love, Garrett compares his work to alchemy, hoping to create a Philosopher’s Stone of sorts, a portal into the immortal. Instead of turning metal to gold, he transforms his printed photographs into something rare and precious with thick strokes of paint.

When printed, each photograph measures only 3.25 x 4.25 inches; small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the images invite tactile impulses. We must stand close to the artworks, engage with them intimately. Garrett’s obscuring of sexual organs paradoxically serves to heighten the erotic pulse; mangled together, the couples look like writhing beasts, urgently reaching for the apex of mutual pleasure.

In marrying the painting and photographic mediums, Symbiosis presents an uncanny portrait of human closeness and passion. Where the photograph is instantaneous, created and vanished with a click of the shutter, the subsequent painting is more meditative and gradual. In this way, Garrett’s work mirrors sex itself, capturing both the quickened, elusive moment of climax and the dreamy, introspective veil of memory that follows.

via Beautiful/Decay








  • Intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Interesting concept and execution. I think it would have been interesting in another way to be able to see more of the individuals and have them less blended – but the artist’s choice to blend them so fully really reflects how to people can mesh as lovers.

  • Ugly. To me this is not art.

  • Cortney Finn

    So, does only what is pretty qualify as art? You may not like it, or you might not find the execution of the theme or subject matter well done, but that is another story. It’s art if the artist thinks it’s art.

  • Parkinson Sniper

    This is art…it tells “lovers become one during sex” but it says it in a rough and disturbingly pornographic way. I don’t find it aesthetic or harmonic. But it has a message.

  • Dain Q. Gore

    “Not everything is art, but everything is art materials.”

    ~Lew Alquist

  • 7765

    pretty bad… sorry…

  • Doesn’t convey the message to me. The concept is interesting, the execution is lacking. Sorry.

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