The first episode occurred when I was working on the "Lullaby" piece at the gallery. One of the artists who shows his work there watched me for a while, shook his head, and said something to the effect of "I just like paintings that actually look like something!" Note: he is a very traditional landscape painter, so I took that with a grain of salt.
The second poke to my ego happened yesterday when another artist, while he admired my cubist nude above, questioned me about whether it was truly "original" to be making cubist art since that had already been done. This was particularly ironic to me because this need to pursue something new was the impetus for me studying cubism in the first place. After I argued with him briefly, he admitted he was just basically pulling my chain to see what I would say.
I usually try to use criticism to spur my own growth. I try to employ it as a lens through which I can view my work objectively. I try to remind myself not to become too self-important--that criticism is no more or less valuable than praise, and if I am going to show my work to people, I better be able to handle both.
If I have any direct response to criticism, it is that art criticism is a much lower risk activity than making art.
One of the best guides I have found with regard to critiquing art is by Trace Lowe at redbubble.com. (Click on the cartoon at left to open the guidelines in a new window.)
This is also a tremendously valuable tool I use as an artist when analyzing my own work.