As his condition deteriorated, Pollock traveled to New Jersey that summer to spend a weekend with his old friend, Smith. There, the artist worked with a unique method called sand casting, pouring damp plaster into molded sand. “Sand casting leaves a gritty finish,” Costello explained in a 2012 essay, “which creates the expressive, heavily textured surface that [Pollock] often sought in his paintings.” Pollock used his hands to mold the resulting semi-solid material into jagged forms, connected by thin wire.
“Accidental, improvisational shapes evolved in the process,” Costello continued, “evidencing a tension between chance and control, accident and discipline, a mainstay of Pollock’s work and Abstract Expressionism in general.”
After his death in a car accident the following month, one of the 50-ton boulders that had been in Pollock’s East Hampton backyard—which he had always intended on sculpting, someday—was lugged up a hill in the Green River Cemetery by a group of the late artist’s friends and family. Though he would never work with the slanted stone himself, it has since been carved to fit a bronze plaque that bears his name—an appropriate gesture for the painter whose career both started and ended with sculpture.