All of Michael Winkler's individual works explore the imagery and implications of
'spelled-forms.' Spelled-forms are visualizations of the patterns of alphabetic sequencing
within the signs for written words.
The project relies on a simple process which maps the
letter-code of written words into a fixed circle of uniquely spaced alphabetic points
"All Words"--325 straight lines illustrate all possible relationships of the 26 letters).
For more insights into the ongoing exploration of spelled-forms, their accidental discovery,
and their implications for cultural theory; read "Forms of Language"
here or on the image below)
The circular alphabetic configuration is organized by positioning the consonants between a
symmetry of vowels (the configuration is based on a circle because it is the only two-
dimensional shape which doesn’t have inherent spatial variation on its perimeter).
lines are drawn within the alphabetic circle which connect the letter-points according to
the spelling of words, visual forms are generated. Since the process is rigorous and the
configuration of alphabetic points is fixed, all variations in the imagery are the direct
result of the spelling of words.
(above) Untitled 2015 work commissioned by Daimler Mercedes-Benz
(click on the image to enlarge it)
Mixed-media on stretched canvas; height 183 cm, width 142 cm (72 x 56 inches). *Created in a studio
set up on-site as part of a special project at the Mercedes- Benz plant in Kassel, Germany. In this work,
a common origin of basic forms inherent in the mechanism of human perception is treated as
underlying both the patterning of the signs of language and the structure of mechanical systems.
The work is based on the spelled-forms of 12 German Words.
To access the catalog description, click (
here). To access a
discussion of the project in German on The Daimler Blog, click (
An exploration of using the spelling of words to generate the color in
paintings of spelled-forms has been ongoing since 2013--for more
information on the process, click
Spelled-forms in "Traced" 2017
(see Paintings Page)
Click on image to enlarge it
Winkler’s project has attracted interest both within and outside the art community, partly
because it aligns with recent research in the science of how we read words. According to the
2015 article, "New discoveries should reopen the discussion of signs" (see bottom of page),
it's been discovered that the code of alphabetic sequencing--the patterning underlying
orthography or spelling--actually constitutes the sign for a written word, not recognition of a
word's graphic shape or image, as had been thought (Bouma Theory was incorrect; the new
theory is Parallel Letter Recognition). Similarly, the sign for a spoken word resides in
recognition of ‘the patterning of the underlying vocalic gestures,’ not in the recognition of the  
phonemic components themselves. The recent discoveries are problematic for cultural
theorists and contemporary philosophers (Ferdinand de Saussure never examined the
patterning of vocalic gestures, so his widely accepted assumption that the signs of language
are arbitrary is groundless--Saussure's assumption is a foundation of most current theories).

The orthography of English words was not devised according to a plan, so the choices which
resulted in the underlying patterns of the orthography may have been influenced by innately
motivated preferences (which subconsciously arose from the mechanisms of meaningful
awareness). Until spelling was standardized in dictionaries, it evolved as all signs in living
language evolve--it was formulated by the choices of the collective consciousness of all
those who participated in the development of the language (some of Winkler’s works explore
the similarity between the hidden patterning in spelling and early artifacts of the emergence
of the symbolic mind).

The project’s goal is to facilitate the viewer/reader’s examination of their own sense of the
experience of meaningful awareness.
Thousands of words in over a dozen Romanized languages have been explored