We spent a few weeks poking our heads into the San Diego Museum of Art while it mounted exhibits by British painters Howard Hodgkin and Thomas Gainsborough.

Now that the shows are up, here’s what people are saying about the works displayed in the exhibits, “Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman” and “Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place”:

• Art critic Christopher Knight reviews the “captivating” Gainsborough exhibit. “This is painting as performance art,” Knight writes. He trumpets the museum’s feat to secure “exceptional loans” from prestigious collections around the world. (LAT)

• Museum curatorial staff John Marciari and Julia Marciari-Alexander talk about Gainsborough’s edgy depictions of women. “Most of these women were not just famous, they were sort of naughty,” says Marciari-Alexander. “And they each lived a life very much in the public sphere at a time when publicity was beginning to create and unmake people’s reputations.” (KPBS)

• Local art history professor and curator Kraig Cavanaugh reviews the “complementary pair” of exhibits of artists who are “definitely against painting within the lines.” His takeaway: “If you enjoy real painting — the actual paint handling and brushwork — then be sure to see this fine pair of exhibitions.” (SanDiego.com)

• Leah Ollman catches up with Hodgkin, whose work she characterizes as the effort “to paint the wealth of memories and sensations that occupy it.” (LAT)

• On the museum’s Facebook page, Joe Marciniak says he’d characterize Hodgkin’s boundary-pushing work like this: “Abstract expression fueled by creative energy comes to mind. Sometimes art just ‘is’ for an artist while others strive to tag it with one label or another.”

Remember, you have a few days left to take advantage (maybe on this supposedly stormy weekend coming up?) of the discounted admission available through Museum Month.

Have you visited these shows at the museum? Did you prefer one painter to the other? What did the pieces make you think about? Drop me a line, or leave a comment here or on our Behind the Scene Facebook page. We’d love to hear your reaction.

You can reach me, the arts editor for VOSD, directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531 and follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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