There's a story behind this painting. I was barely an adult, and it was my first overseas trip on my own. I was visiting my sister, who was doing her PhD in Beijing. We stayed in the university dorms. The China of 1989 was very different from the China of today. Everyone still wore Mao suits and there were bike jams, not traffic jams. The uni walls were pockmarked with bullet holes from the Cultural Revolution; the footpaths of surrounding streets occupied by billiard tables.
Throughout the day, old men would take their pet birds for a 'walk', slowly carrying traditional wooden cages down the street. Hanging the cages in nearby trees, they would play a few rounds of outdoor pool with their mates, then 'walk' their birds home again.
That these birds were out and about, perched in trees, but at the same time still in cages, seemed indicative of the plight of the people in those months leading up to the Tiananmen Square protests. Somehow, it seemed worse to be able to glimpse freedom and not experience it than to not see it at all.
And while Beijing has been rebuilt as a modernist city, in terms of freedom, little appears to have changed. However, history has shown that when the infrastructure of control is so overt, inevitably it fails to achieve the goals for which it was created.
Limited edition: 100
Print size: 60cm x 50cm
All prints are produced on a 310gsm 100% cotton archival fine art paper using the latest generation 10 colour pigmented ink sets. One of the most durable print processes available today, prints can be expected to last a lifetime.
All frames are crafted in Melbourne from sustainably sourced Australian hardwoods. Each frame is carefully sanded and finised by hand. The following timber and finish combinations are available:
Blackwood - Natural Finish
Tasmanian Oak - Natural Finish
Tasmanian Oak - Deep Brown Finish
Tasmanian Oak - Satin Black Lacquer
Tasmanian Oak - Satin White Lacquer
Frame profile measures 19mm wide by 45 mm deep.
3mm Acrylic glazing is standard on all frames with prints setback from the acrylic with 15mm spacers.
Matthew Quick began painting as a teenager, before becoming one of the University of South Australia's youngest students. Upon graduation, he joined Emery Studio in Melbourne, designing for major Australian corporations such as Rio Tinto, Foster’s and BHP. After a prosperous career in design and advertising, and publishing a number of fiction titles, Quick returned to painting at age 35. The power of great civilisations is reflected in their monuments. Quick, though, asks us to consider what is left when the empires pass. Quick tells stories and makes quirky observations of the world around us.