Personal Ads are collaged images and text from newspapers and magazines painted to evoke hand-made signs. Each surface is saturated with eye-popping color and campaign slogans are transmuted into short poems.
Gadi Dechter of Baltimore's City Paper described the work as follows:
"Ferrera paints in vivid, unnatural colors, superimposing artificial hues on her subjects (blond hair on dark-skinned women, for example) in the same way that consumer culture often imposes its beauty standards on its subordinates. That the slogans are written in broken English--familiar to anyone who has visited the non-English-speaking world--further emphasizes the misleading power of consumer advertising.
Ferrera also creates ironic tension by infusing sexual, racial, and political currents into these messages: In one work, a semi-reclining woman in a provocative red dress poses in front of a tube labeled 'feel real' with the slogan 'cock smart!' emblazoned underneath. In another piece, a grinning model proudly holds up a dispenser of some kind of cosmetic powder, framed by the phrase 'be a bomb!' Individually, each of Ferrera's collages is carefully composed and beautifully rendered; taken together, they are a damning and darkly humorous exploration of how advertisements articulate subversive messages about both purveyors and purchasers." (1/8/2003)