Smiling portraits of friends and neighbors meet stark representations of addiction and evil in Mostly Black and White, the current show by Island artist James Langlois.

On display through May 18 in the Marilyn Meyerhoff Lobby of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the exhibition includes a set of 5”x7” color oils on canvas, and a portrait of a guitar-playing Ben Taylor against a red background, reminiscent of an old 10-inch record cover. But the majority of the show is in shades of charcoal and graphite, centered around a large work on paper called Days of Wine and Roses in which Mr. Langlois surrounds a self-portrait with images of alcohol, drugs, suffering and death.

The artist at the exhibit opening at the playhouse. The show will continue through May 18. — Louisa Hufstader

“This piece visualizes the chaos of alcohol and drug addiction,” Mr. Langlois wrote in his notes for the current show, which also includes a portrait of Carter Berardi, the 23-year-old summer Islander who died of a heroin overdose in 2014.

In his drawing, Touch, Mr. Langlois sees addiction as a tidal wave threatening to engulf our society. Elsewhere, he singles out individual culprits in the show’s most recent drawings: Pushing Pharma 1, Pushing Pharma 2 and Plague Doctor.

The figures in the two Pushing Pharma drawings are recognizably human beneath their lab coats, gloves and surgical masks. But the beak-masked, goggled and expressionless Plague Doctor appears as either a monster from the realms of allegory or a singularly sinister participant in the Carnival of Venice.

Not all of the work in Mostly Black and White is so dark. The drawing Berta is a portrait that irresistibly draws smiles from its viewers, while the smaller oils include several views over time of the eroding cliff at Lucy Vincent Beach. There is also a portrait of a newborn infant titled New Beginning.

The show is open during playhouse business hours. For more information, visit