Rhinold Lamar Ponder is an artist, writer/activist and lawyer based in Princeton New Jersey. After thirty years of practicing law, Rhinold has returned to his love of art and writing as a fine artist, political commentator and local television show host. His most recent exhibition, “The Rise and Fail of the N-Word” concluded a highly acclaimed gallery showing in New Haven in March, 2018. He is the founder and principal of Ponder Tuck Ponder, LLC, law practice. Rhinold is also the Executive Producer and Host of “Know Your Rights New Jersey” a local access television show. He also administers a popular Facebook discussion page, with over 2500 members, on issues around race, culture and politics entitled “Beyond Black and White Discussion Group.”
Rhinold, 58, is an older emerging artist, who began to refocus his attention to his love of painting in 2002 as his mother was beginning her battle with cancer. While his works draw on a number of themes and a wide range of styles, most of his works focus on humanity’s faith and will to overcome adversity. His most recent exhibit, “The Rise and Fail of the N-Word,” which focuses on the language and physical manifestations of racism, made its debut at Princeton University in 2014. Some work, from the exhibit which appeared in his daughter’s high school yearbook and resulted in her unjust suspension, gaining international attention, are the impetus for anti-racism work in the local school district.
Rhinold has exhibited in a variety of gallery and alternative venues largely on the east coast for the past 16 years. He has been featured at coffee houses and bookstores such as Barnes and Noble (New Brunswick) and Border Bookstores (Princeton). His work has been exhibited at the Sweet Tree Gallery (Princeton), Gallery Guichard (Chicago) and Mill Hill Playhouse, Gallery 125 and The Contemporary (Trenton). His favorite places to exhibit are at the home of fun and loving collectors. He has been hosted by patrons and collectors such Kim Evans, Monica Weeks, and David Addams. He is always open to having art parties hosted by friend, so feel free to invite him. Rhinold also uses his artwork to facilitate his philanthropic goals ($1.5 Million by 2020); he has donated works to organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Delaware Raritan, Princeton Education Foundation, The Women’s Fund of New Jersey, TASP (Trenton After School Program).
A graduate of Princeton University, where he earned a A.B. in politics, Rhinold achieved his juris doctorate from New York University Law School where he was the editor-in-chief of the NYU Review of Law and Social Change – the first Africa-American to head an NYU law review. He also achieved masters in Journalism and African American Studies while a Martin Luther King Fellow at Boston University.
His work on non-profit boards and community organizations is extensive. Previously, he presided over the board of trustees of the Tony award winning Crossroads Theatre and successfully led a community effort to save the company. He recently completed his term on the Trustee Board of the Arts Council of Princeton.
As an author, his writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Trenton Times and the City Sun. In 1997, he co-edited, with his wife, Michele Tuck-Ponder, two critically acclaimed compilations of sermons, published by Crown, entitled Wisdom of the Word: Faith and Wisdom of the Word: Love.
His wife, Michele, is a non-profit executive and former Mayor of Princeton Township. Rhinold has two children: Jamaica Ponder, who is a freshman at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and William Ponder, a fifth grader.
A viewer’s pained sighs; joyful pauses; thought-provoked headaches; reflexive reconsideration and double-takes. Your tears. My tears. These things define my creative practice.
I cry a lot when I paint. Sometimes joylessly. Sometimes painfully. But my emotive response during the creative process always lets me know when my work has a chance of touching someone else. My emotional connection informs me whether the subject is a multi-colored painting that combines the athletic form with drip and splatter technique or an abstract capturing the pain of dark bodies drifting into the ocean during the Atlantic slave trade. My objective is to capture the emotion of my present and ancestral experience in a beautiful form which requires attention and consideration.
While my painting techniques are constantly evolving – for me the joy of practice is continual growth and experimentation — my current work reflects two strains of thought and provocation. Much of my work, acrylics and mixed media, reflects my love of explosive colorful abstract and expressionist work with a focus on humanity’s faith and will to overcome adversity. I am largely interested in expressions of hope and faith as unifying elements in a diverse society which I find in the human form in motion as in sports, dance, prayer and play.
Another strain of my work, currently revealed in my on-going project, “The Rise and Fail of the N-Word,” seeks to use art, through beautiful provocation, as an overt means of breaking communication barriers regarding race and justice. This body of work is both a communication with art and literary history and a prompt to break down the language barriers preventing meaning discussions about how we view and treat one another and how we can do better.