Help with Latin, please

I am searching for a Latin phrase which would describe the actual object of an artwork (a painting say) not what it signifies, that is to say the physical ‘thing’ in front of you, the thing you can touch, not the message it may (or may not) contain or convey.

I have now, opus operatum, but that appears to have a singularly theological application, or does it only have that?

I want to make a comparison with ‘the means by which it was produced’, as; modus operandi

Thank you.

ipsa res ?

Anyway, res = thing