Kean University MFA Studio Exhibition Features the Work of Barbara Prestridge and George Rateau


Union, N.J. - Kean University’s James Howe Gallery will host Emergence, a master of fine arts studio thesis exhibition featuring the work of Barbara Prestridge and George Rateau, from April 20 – May 14. The artists will provide commentary at an opening reception for the exhibit on Sunday, April 23 from 1-3 p.m.

“While Prestridge and Rateau’s bodies of work seem distant in terms of genre, style, and medium, both offer a sense of unfolding,” said Judy Wukitsch, the exhibition’s coordinator. “One brings us along the path of philosophical questions, the other takes us on a visual journey of discovery.”

Barbara Prestridge, of Scotch Plains, is a Fanwood high school teacher and a portrait water colorist. Her current works are abstract and vivid, depicting a series of reflections, bridges and archways. Prestridge’s paintings are a study in contrasts, featuring color saturated organic forms accented by hard-edged geometric charcoal shapes.

George Rateau’s featured work includes excerpts from his forthcoming graphic novel, Chronicles of the Spirit Welders, and develops a compelling visual narrative. The novel’s plot centers on a young girl named Hope, an amnesiac. Through a series of episodic adventures, Hope begins to unlock the secrets of her forgotten past while grappling with themes ranging from the search for truth and enlightenment to issues of identity and consumer culture.

Kean University’s Master of Arts in Fine Arts Education: Studio Option is designed primarily for individuals interested in pursuing advanced work and professional development in the studio arts. The program is designed to help each student develop an area of artistic specialization, leading to gallery-ready work. Potential areas of study include: drawing, painting, printmaking, jewelry/metals, textiles, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and furniture design.

“Within the scope of graduate level study, artists and art educators are enabled to pursue advanced concepts while focusing on a specialized area of studio pursuit,” said Suzanne Bousquet, the dean of Kean University’s College of Liberal Arts.


Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education.  Visit

Photo Caption: Blue Staircase by Barbara Prestridge.

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