Painter Robert Deyber
HORSE SENSE | Painter Robert Deyber, below, employs an Old Masters style but his works are subtly humorous riffs on English language cliches.

Brushstrokes of genius

For gay painter Robert Deyber, language cliches inspire his witty art

Writers are taught to avoid clichés like the plague. But painter Robert Deyber welcomes them with open arms. And why shouldn’t he? His paintings — what he calls “visual interpretations” — put a humorous, often twisted spin on clichés, euphemisms and idioms. The former airline industry executive lost his job after Sept. 11, 2001, as the nation was bonding in a time of great loss. One phrase popped up repeatedly in the media: “We need to start thinking outside the box.”

“After I heard it for, like, the 300th time, I started sketching what I thought it would look like,” Deyber says. “I realized there are so many wacky colloquialisms and phrases, I wondered if somebody was visually interpreting them. When I realized nobody was, I knew I was onto something.”

DEETS: Martin Lawrence Gallery at the Galleria, 13550 Dallas Parkway (inside Sak’s 5th Ave.) June 27, 2–4 p.m. RSVP at 972-716-5335.