In the winter of 1982-1983, Jim Dine began making sculpture on the West Coast, casting his works in Walla Walla, Washington, and teaching a casting course at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. This move west prompted a productive period of sculpting in bronze, a medium he found deeply satisfying. Dine has described his experience working with bronze as "'warm and forgiving . . . I like carving it and using power tools on it afterwards. I like patinating it and painting on it. To me, bronze is a terriffic medium'" (M. E. Shapiro, Methods and Metaphors: The Sculpture of Jim Dine, New York 1984, p. 6).
Column with Rock and Axe, 1983 . . . demonstrates the improvisatory quality which Dine uses--even with as complex and weighty a medium as bronze. The twisted or Solomonic column he used as the basis for the sculpture first appeared to the artist in a dream. He found a similar column in an architectural reproduction store in Los Angeles and combined the column with bronze casts of a rock and axe which he had made for use in (another work of the same year) The Crommelynck Gate with Tools. Dine combined them with the column in the spirit of surrealist collage. In the wax stage Dine dribbled melted wax over the column to enrich its surface. After casting, each of the three casts of the sculpture was given a different patina: black, brown or green. (ibid, pp. 9-10)