Gwen Barringer was a grandniece of James Hazel Adamson, an early amateur South Australian artist. She studied at the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts under H.P. Gill and Archibald Collins, later receiving tuition from Hans Heysen (q. v.). As well as being on the council of the South Australian Society of Arts for over 30 years, she was also well-known as a teacher.
A traditional watercolourist of lyrical flowers and aesthetic landscapes, Barringer achieved a near record sale for an Australian woman painter at her exhibition in Adelaide in 1928. She always preferred the ideas of her early training, and remained unresponsive to any artistic innovations.
PORT ADELAIDE, undated, but exhibited in the 1921 Federal Exhibition, South Australian Society of Arts Gallery, shows the artist's preference for atmospheric compositions of reflected light. Here the still water mirrors the boats' masts, and with a typical Barringer touch, the white of the paper is used as light.
In accordance with the custom of the day, it is possible that this work was presented by Barringer to a member of the Barr Smith family, when opening an exhibition of the artist's work.