Michael Tyzack’s mature work consists of flat geometric canvases rendered in bold colors. Although he was born abroad and is most often listed as a British abstractionist, he spent the majority of his artistic career in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Tyzack was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and he studied at the Sheffield College of Art between 1950 and 1952. He went on to the Slade School of Fine Art, the art school of University College London, 1952–1956. He obtained a scholarship that funded a yearlong stay in Paris where, in addition to painting, he played a trumpet; an enduring passion for jazz resulted. In 1964 he became a lecturer at the Cardiff School of Art and Design (now part of Cardiff Metropolitan University) located in the southeast corner of Wales in the United Kingdom. He later taught at the Hornsey College of Art (since merged with Middlesex Polytechnic) in Middlesex, England. He was a member of the 56 Group Wales; the group “believe[d] in a positive and dynamic approach which is aware of the tradition of the past and its fulfillment in the art of the present. … [and] the integration of design and emotion.”

In 1971 Tyzack accepted a teaching post and began a five-year stint at the University of Iowa School of Art in Iowa City. Beginning in 1976 he was a professor of art at the College of Charleston until his death in 2007. Among his colleagues there were William Halsey and Corrie McCallum. He befriended and mentored Brian Rutenberg who was a student at the college in the mid-1980s. Another student, Jonathan Brilliant, wrote endearingly of Tyzack after his death: “Those who knew Tyzack, knew he was nothing if not generous. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Tyzack was the strict disciplined way in which he dressed, painted, and conducted class being diametrically opposed to his other passion in life, jazz. … but above all he encouraged all his students to push ahead with their work and to make something of themselves.”

Tyzack’s large format paintings display remarkable design control, often of squares and diagonals. In his early work done while in the United Kingdom he sometimes added dynamic, curving squiggles. He also had a keen color sense, and at times he experimented with shaped canvases which heightened the tension of his compositions.