HERRON: What does a typical day in your studio entail?

HORVATH: It’s never the same. Some days my focus and energy are right on, others days I end up staring at the paintings and questioning everything I am doing. I like to work in the morning as I am generally sharper and more focused, which is a complete switch from years back when I could only work at night. But not all studio time is about working on paintings and many times I am just organizing my paint and cleaning or reading articles online. Some days I play music or stream NPR, but I enjoy working in complete silence as it allows my mind to wonder. 

HERRON: What was your inspiration for the “Petit Mort” exhibition?

HORVATH: Inspiration for this exhibition comes from multiple places. In the past several years, I have been drawn to document museum displays. I’ve photographed numerous vitrines with no specific purpose, then I got very interested in Rococo porcelain, so I made the connection. A museum displaying an object in a vitrine gives the object a stamp of approval. I like the idea that only certain objects get to be displayed, and wonder what treasures are hidden in museum archives. I also find Rococo art, architecture, and interior design fascinating. The sensory overload is amazing and therefore ideal for displaying subtle imagery without it being too noticeable. 

HERRON: When did you become fascinated with Rococo style?

HORVATH: I love its flamboyance. It is so decadent and obscene. The sensory overload reminds me of our times – overconsumption, lack of moderation, and excess. Where is the breaking point, and have we learned from history?

My work has always been decadent. I like how it competes for attention with its intense saturation of color, surface glossiness, and hyper-real resolution. In a way, it lacks moderation. I don't really know where this new interest will take me as I have only incorporated it into my work for a very short period of time.

HERRON: Your current work explores censorship and shifting public policies in relation to LGBTQ issues. What are your thoughts on using art as a platform for activism?

HORVATH: I’ve never thought of myself as being an artist-activist before, even though my work has always dealt with some sort of social issue. Though my new work is confrontational and one might find it offensive, my intentions behind this work were purely artistic. But at the same time, I feel that the work is poised to disrupt the idea that beautiful work should not offend. I am hoping that my work will stimulate conversation. I think that is where it begins when dealing with sensitive issues. 

HERRON: Is this the first time you’ve exhibited the works that are part of “Petit Mort?”

HORVATH: In early July, my new paintings and digital collages were shown for the first time in a solo exhibition, “White Gold,” at Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago. The response was favorable not only from the audience but also from local art critics. “White Gold” was highlighted in Wall Street International Magazine and was listed in Chicago’s primary arts and culture publication, Newcity, for Chicago’s top five must-see exhibitions in August 2017

HERRON: What other projects are you embarking on now or in the future?

HORVATH: I seem to have more ideas for new work than I can physically get to. I’m thinking about landscape painting lately, but also about miniature Indian paintings. I really don't know what comes next. 

“Petit Mort” opens in the Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and runs through Wednesday, Dec. 20. For more information, visit herrongalleries.org.