KNIGHT, ML (Mary Louise), née Kilgour
November 15, 1924 to January 28, 2013
Artist and noun. Poet. Beloved daughter of the Rev. Hugh Bryans Kilgour (Disciples of Christ) of Toronto, and Mae Louise Kilgour, née Cory, China missionary, of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Sister to James. Cherished wife and endless sweet astonishment of David James Knight of Toronto, author and publisher, Professor of English at Victoria College. Loving, revelatory mother to Ben, Piers, Adam, and Henry, dear mother-in-law to Lana and Lilli, grandmother to Avery. Treasured confidante for souls far and wide. Anchor of her neighborhood for more than fifty years. Patron and muse for two generations of literary and visual artists. Good friend to the sad, to young lovers, to art itself, and to her sons. Author of The Lace Volcano and Overlooking the Red Jail.
Born in Winnipeg in 1924, raised in goodness, small means, radio, and war, ML sought her independence with great ferocity. She got into university in 1945 by taking correspondence courses over six weeks. When she sat her Greek exam, she forgot the alphabet. She was so brilliant in her other work, it made no difference. She studied with Northrop Frye and became one of a far-sighted generation of poets and philosophers at Victoria College. And she met David, with whom she was to shape a long, brilliant, and delightful tale of love.
Most modest and generous of the great Surrealists of the 20th Century, ML Knight did not begin to make collages regularly until her sons were almost grown. In more than a dozen shows, she proposed a visual world in which resemblance was more powerful than either substance or intention. Swapping elements of existing images, or re-naming them, she made hundreds of tight, oracular collages that were formed like jokes but were really poems on the most transcendent subjects. Her many works include a gauze Battersea Power Station, a stuffed-toy Spadina Bus, and such masterpieces of collage as Letting the Troubled Stay Overnight, Rain over Dupont, Something is Coming, and Sylvia Plath. Her largest single work, the Vic Collage, is in the main hall of Old Victoria College in Toronto.
The Knight family thank the nurses, doctors, and staff at the Toronto General Hospital for the great kindness they have shown us. To everyone who loved ML, we greet you and extend condolences. She is with David now, her work complete. We ask our friends to think of her and then go out and have a treat. There will be remembrance in the spring.
Saturday February 2, 2013
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