"Paintings Beneath the Sea by Jason Mathias" lets museumgoers catch a school of fish by the South Florida artist who has been featured at the International Game Fish Association museum hall of fame. Presenting his aquatic subjects realistically, the artist often renders their environments impressionistically. For instance, Wide Open, which captures sailfish as they angle their bills toward a school of Spanish sardines, renders the predators emanating an otherworldly glow as the light slants through the water, whose surface is depicted in a "Starry Night" turbulence. The idyllic underwater settings offer the perfect backdrop for fantasy, which the artist explores in just a couple of works such as the mermaid and shipwreck in Lost Love. On hand are photographs of many works in various stages of completion with his own written documentation of the process. Accompanying his artwork are the underwater video and stills that the artist shoots in South Florida waters as studies for his work. Showing concurrently, "The Maritime Art of James A. Flood" offers a top-side view. A former Navy man, the Delray Beach resident paints detailed portraits of ships at sea, usually portrayed in historical context. Queen Victoria Joins the Fleet depicts the ocean liner sailing off with the New York skyline bathed in the glow of a sherbet-colored sky, while HMS Britannia Chasing the French shows the British ship in pursuit through aggressive swells. Outside, a phallic sculpture of an 800-pound, nine-foot fish carved from a single log of black walnut accompanies the exhibits. (Through August 30 at Cornell Museum, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.)
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