USF Gala featuring renowned 9/11 commemorative piece

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News release from the University of Saint Francis:

USF Gala featuring renowned 9/11 commemorative piece

(August 6, 2011) – The School of Creative Arts (SOCA) at the University of Saint Francis will unveil a renowned artwork commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy as part of its “2011 Presidential Gala: Bruno Surdo, Figurative Paintings,” its 12th signature event to open the school year.

The Gala opening will be Sept. 10 from 6-9 p.m. in the Weatherhead Gallery in the Rolland Center for Art and Visual Communication, with SOCA hosting up to 500 arts supporters for the exhibit, refreshments and musical entertainment. The exhibit, which will include a broad range of work focused upon the artistry of the human anatomy, pictorial composition and narrative painting, will be open for viewing by the public thereafter through Oct. 23.

Surdo, a Chicago native, is the Gala’s study subject and the painter of “Tragedy, Memory, & Honor,” a 9-by-35-foot work in oil on canvas with elements of collage. Surdo flew to New York City shortly after the disaster, where he observed first-hand the indescribable carnage in the aftermath of the attack on the city’s Twin Towers.

Painted on five panels, “Tragedy, Memory, & Honor” memorializes the horrifying tragedy that without warning killed thousands of innocents—changing lives and altering the appearance and perception of New York in the eyes of the world forever. Thickly painted in impasto and collaged with debris collected from the site, the painting is overwhelming in its acute depiction of the fathomless destruction which will forever leave an indelible scar on humanity.

Although it spans five assembled panels, the work, as its title indicates, is built around three visual foci. The leftmost third represents the New York World Trade Center’s sudden tragedy; at right, the artist’s response to the coalescing, and often heroic, aftermath. The center, last in Surdo’s conception, unites this entire work with a sense of what endures, a common bond of individuals reduced to memory.

“Bruno Surdo’s Tragedy, Memory & Honor … is a cry of grief, an honoring of sacrifice, an act of love for fellowman. It is a moving work of art,” according to a review posted on

Surdo is an award-winning artist who has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. He has studied figurative drawing and painting in the United States and Europe. While studying in Italy, he perfected his knowledge of artistic human anatomy, pictorial composition, landscape painting and still-life depictions.

He is the founder and current head instructor at the School of Representational Art in Chicago which was established in 1992, and is represented by the Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago.

His work has been featured in shows throughout the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Little Rock, and numerous times in Chicago. His life and work have been featured in many art books and magazines. “Tragedy, Memory, and Honor” has received national attention, including Surdo’s receipt of an award from Chicago Mayor Daley and features on news channels, magazines and newspapers throughout the country.

He recently won first place in an “International Artist” magazine competition for figurative art. He has received many commissions throughout the years, and many of his works are held in prestigious collections.

“Our goal is to bring to USF an artist of national and international acclaim to serve the students and community from an educational point of view,” said Weatherhead Gallery director Justin Johnson. “I think of it as the university’s time to celebrate the arts and the community that supports us—in addition to introducing the students to the incredible world of visual art,” said Colleen Huddleson, assistant to the SOCA dean.

Barnes and Thornburg, USF President Sr. M Elise Kriss, OSF and the University of Saint Francis sponsor the event.


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