IN HER ELEMENT: Although she dreamed of becoming an archeologist, Susi Muddiman has made her mark on the career she literally fell into.
IN HER ELEMENT: Although she dreamed of becoming an archeologist, Susi Muddiman has made her mark on the career she literally fell into. John Gass Tweweekend

A job with art and soul

WHEN people say they fell into their job, it's a metaphorical term.

But for director of the Tweed River Regional Art Gallery Susi Muddiman, it's literal.

"I was studying english and history at the University of Queensland," she said.

"But my first passion was archeology.

"On my first day back after the Easter holidays, I broke my ankle."

Ms Muddiman had to rely on friends' notes while she was laid up.

When she came back to uni, it was on crutches.

"I had to take the lift because I couldn't manage the stairs," she recalls.

"I accidentally got out on the wrong floor, or fell out would be a more accurate description.

"It was the university's art museum."

She was awestruck by what she saw.

"Oh my God, what's this?" was her reaction.

"I was instantly converted and decided to major in art history."

IT’S MY LIFE: Susi Muddiman walking through the popular Tweed River Art Gallery.
IT’S MY LIFE: Susi Muddiman walking through the popular Tweed River Art Gallery. John Gass Tweweekend

She studied art from the Renaissance through to the contemporary under Dr Nancy Underhill.

"She was an inspiration," Ms Muddiman said.

She believed students should have a hands-on connection with the university's artworks.

"It was incredible," she said.

"We got to curate exhibitions and to hang them."

This was the start of a career in art that has led the passionate art lover to become director of one of the best regional galleries in Australia.

Ms Muddiman lives and breathes art.

"It's my life," she told the Daily News.

"My only regret is that I have so much less time these days to spend with the art we display.

"It's ironic that I can't even draw a straight line myself."

But she has a good eye.

"I look for skill, talent and technique in an artwork," she said.

"Then I ask myself if it tells a story.

"If you can read it on lots of levels, then I feel it's a good artwork."

 

THOUGHT-PROVOKING: A recent exhibition at the gallery included these whimsical pieces from artist Erica Gray.
THOUGHT-PROVOKING: A recent exhibition at the gallery included these whimsical pieces from artist Erica Gray. Blainey Woodham

 

Ms Muddiman says she also looks at narrative, history and context in the works she chooses to display.

"A lot of people say everything on the wall is about my taste," she said.

"That's not the case.

"I'm happy if a visitor walks out the door understanding even just one work of art."



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