Chris wrote,

Chris, by "aesthetic quality" do you include poetic communication of emotions, themes and meaning? If aesthetic quality in art includes that, then it must use a recognizable visual language capable of communicating ideas and feelings.

If by aesthetic quality you refer only to pretty colors and shapes assembled in interesting designs and patterns, then you are speaking of craft and not fine art. A beautifully designed and shaped teapot is a work of craft, as is a persian rug, Faberge Russian Enamel, and English Sterling silver. They can be quite beautiful and functional (or not), but before you can have "fine art" you must include the expression of ideas, themes, emotions, stories, and feelings. This can only be accomplished though recognizable and shared imagery even in portrayal of non realistic dreams, fantasies, psychological metaphor, super-natural or even science fiction.

If you are speaking of crafts I agree with you about the lack of connection between aesthetic quality and realism. If you are speaking of fine art I most definitely disagree.